Christmas Eve 2016

Before Thanksgiving we headed to the mall for some early Christmas shopping. We happened to walk by “Santa’s Workshop” and I thought Sam’s eyes would pop out of his head. He was in sheer amazement at seeing Santa Claus in the middle of the mall.

As we walked by, he peered surreptitiously over the walls trying ever so hard to not get caught, but sly little Santa saw him and winked. Sam quickly ducked down with eyes of sheer amazement and gasped, “He is real, Mom! We were wrong!”

And so the saying goes, “The rest is history.”


We headed to the mall the day before Christmas for a special treat – to MEET Santa! Sam was amazed and Timmy was pleased as a peach. All three children sat in Santa’s lap and the boys told Santa exactly what they wanted for Christmas. Interestingly they each named one thing. Later that day, Daddy went out and bought those two precious gifts because … well, why the heck not?


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Later that evening we opened our Christmas jammies, but poor, Cary, she was just not into it all. christmas-eve-2016-5 christmas-eve-2016-6

Turns out she was really sick, and the next day would prove it. But we put her on to bed, and we played Dominoes with the boys.

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After games, we went outside to “feed the reindeer.” I grew up feeding the reindeer and thoroughly enjoyed sharing the tradition with the boys. christmas-eve-2016-8

We made sure to write a note to Santa, but since Sam had only just decided that very day that he believed in Santa without a shadow of a doubt (apparently he’d mulled over his Santa experience all month before finally deciding), we didn’t really have that great of cookies to leave him. Santa didn’t mind though, I’m sure!christmas-eve-2016-9 christmas-eve-2016-10

Timmy was over the moon excited that Santa was coming, but Sam was holding back his emotions. He was turning into doubting Thomas by the end of the night. haha!

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Lo and behold, Santa came! He worked late into the night because making little boys’ dreams come true at the last minute isn’t always easy! πŸ™‚


Valentine’s Week Learning Activities

I have been thoroughly enjoying the theme weeks we’ve been having in February! It makes teaching the boys together so much easier.

Plus it breaks up the monotony of just covering reading, writing, and arithmetic from our main curriculums.

This week was all about Valentine’s Week, and we had so much fun! I did do a lot of prep work for this week, but it was worth it because I know we’ll have lots of fun with it again next year!


I downloaded this free counting hearts busy bag for Timmy to keep him busy while I worked with Sam. thumb_DSC_0097_1024

He absolutely loved it. This kept him busy and occupied for quite some time!thumb_DSC_0101_1024 thumb_DSC_0103_1024

We continued with our daily notebook work this week that wasn’t theme related, but this daily work makes this boy happy so I dare not take it away from him. πŸ™‚ thumb_DSC_0108_1024 thumb_DSC_0111_1024

I made 10 of these worksheets for Sam to work on various ways to solve simple addition problems. This activity was a very good challenge for him!thumb_DSC_0112_1024

I gave Timmy some foam heart stickers to sort by color one day. Again, I was surprised by how busy this kept him.


To further his time of play while I worked with Sam on math, I gave him his 10-frames again along with a mini mailbox I got from Target’s Dollar Section. He would go back and forth between filling up his 10-frames and putting heart stickers through the small slot. thumb_DSC_0119_1024 thumb_DSC_0124_1024

This was by far Sam’s favorite math activity. I made him a heart-themed 10-frame and we played with numbers to equal 10. He rolled the die, wrote down the number in the first blank, and put that many red jewels onto his 10-frame. Then he had to use the clear jewels to determine how manyΒ  more he needed to equal 10. He was actually sad when this activity was over.

Note to self, create more of these for him …thumb_DSC_0136_1024

Timmy still keeping himself busy with foam heart stickers and mini-mailboxes. He would put the hearts through the slot, dump, and repeat!thumb_DSC_0139_1024

Then he started experimenting with holding the lid, putting the heart through the slot, and getting it to fall into the bottom part of the mailbox. thumb_DSC_0140_1024

Next we worked on our scissor skills to cut out various heart themed puzzles (which I can’t remember where I got them from – sorry!). thumb_DSC_0142_1024

After we cut them out, we’d glue them back into place like a puzzle. thumb_DSC_0145_1024

Sam’s are all hung on the left and Timmy’s are on the right. They both enjoyed this activity!thumb_DSC_0148_1024

After that, we made a Puppy Love craft. I got the template for this activity here. thumb_DSC_0149_1024

One afternoon I had Sam solve the secret sight words. I got these worksheets for free here.thumb_DSC_0152_1024

I printed off a new poem for him to memorize and after reading it, we added it to our poetry notebook and Sam illustrated the poem. This is one of our favorite activities when I have time to pull new poems together. Plus this one worked on the color sight words which was great for him!thumb_DSC_0156_1024 thumb_DSC_0158_1024

I created a simple “I Can Measure Hearts” fill in the blank worksheet for him. Then I cut out various sized hearts and drew a line through the center of each one. thumb_DSC_0162_1024


He had to line up the candy hearts and write the correct answer in the blank. Another activity that he loved!


Timmy wasn’t even remotely interested in anything except eating his candy hearts on this day!thumb_IMG_0273_1024

More of our math worksheets. Again, these were not his favorite, but as he got better at them, he enjoyed them a little more. New concepts and Sam aren’t usually very good friends. πŸ˜‰thumb_IMG_0277_1024

We did a mind map one day of all the people we can show love to. I thought it was interesting that Sam said “enemies” onΒ  his own. I love when I get to experience God’s word transforming these little hearts.thumb_IMG_0278_1024

On another day we did some more talking about friends to work on sentence structures.thumb_IMG_0279_1024

He had to write a sentence on each of these days and illustrate the sentence in his notebook. We haven’t done a whole lot with sentences this year because it’s too exhausting for him. I don’t want to push him in this area too early, so this week was very gentle in its approach. He did well with it, but I’m going to continue keeping this at a minimum right now.thumb_IMG_0292_1024

We worked on patterns with our candy hearts. I let him work on some of these patterns first, and then we created our own patterns. Timmy did this a little bit with us, but again he mostly just ate candy hearts.thumb_IMG_0296_1024

I did manage to slow down the candy heart intake by pulling out the letter V do-a-dot printables from the Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum. I had him add foam hearts to the circles to make a big V and little v. He loved this! thumb_IMG_0302_1024

Meanwhile, Sam worked on this fun heart-themed math worksheet. I loved that he chose to make each row one single color. He loved this activity. I guess there was much to love this week (bad joke?). thumb_IMG_0305_1024

This one wouldn’t do a thing except eat his candy … I tried. I really, really tried! haha!thumb_IMG_0326_1024

I snagged this math center for free from A Spoonful of Learning! It was excellent on so many levels. He thoroughly enjoyed it. thumb_IMG_0331_1024

I made some simple number hearts for him to work on counting by 10’s. He had to feed the hearts to the mailbox as he counted. thumb_IMG_0332_1024

We also worked on our number sight words. He’d read them and feed them to the mailbox.thumb_IMG_0334_1024

Finally, while I taught Sam how to play War, Timmy put heart stickers all over this entire worksheet. These stickers were a hit with him this week. Another find at Target!

We had a very full week, but it was a very fun week. The boys were both all smiles during school time which was such a blessing. I can’t say much of the same for the other parts of our days because Timmy decided to potty train and all of us are just tired of winter weather. We are really looking forward to Spring!

Before Five in a Row: The Snowy Day

After such a fun time rowing Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, we decided to pull out The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.


Since we’ve been getting a lot of snow the last couple of days, it seemed only fitting, and we had so much fun with it!

The Snowy Day Activities


The first full day of being snowed in, the boys were already getting a little crazy. πŸ˜‰ So, I set about finding a fun project for us to do together as a family. Daddy has been studying hard all week for school and we all needed something fun to do.

Scholastic shared a fun go-along craft for The Snowy Day on their site. It had a video to walk us through the steps.

We all watched it several times and then set about making our own Snow Day Collages. I love that we all started with the exact same raw materials, and every one of us made something totally different.


Timmy and I worked together on his. I didn’t even attempt to make my own because I knew he would need a little more help. However, he placed all his buildings. Directed where the snow drifts should be glued. Shredded all of his cotton balls and glued them down. He requested trees and a snowman with hat. It was so fun working with him!


Sam is a creative kid. There is a lot running through his little mind at one time, and he has big visions of what he wants to create.

Some notables:

  • He has a fence behind the snow drifts, and he told me that we’ll see them when the snow melts.
  • Someone also threw snowballs really high up in the sky (they almost look like two moons in the sky).
  • He absolutely insisted to get stars out to add to his.
  • And he drew Peter onto a black sheet of construction paper because it was his town and he needed to be there.
  • Oh, and he asked me what city this reminds me of from our big road trip. When I said, “Chicago!” He said, “YES! You are right, Mommy!”

He rattled off some other things, but I was also helping Timmy so I simply didn’t catch it all.


Nonnie got in on the fun making her own collage. I loved her tree creation!


Daddy took a break from reading and joined us. I loved his fence!

Then of course we had to take advantage of the beautiful snow day!

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It is likely the best snow day that I recall since I was in high school. My 10 year reunion has come and gone … so that will give you a frame of reference.

It was so fun! We all (the boys, Daddy, Nonnie, and I) got outside one day and just had a blast. snow day 2016-5 snow day 2016-6 snow day 2016-7

Snowball fights were a big hit!snow day 2016-8

Oh, and sledding! This kid was fierce and over the moon excited about sledding. Sam had a blast too! I was taking part in the sledding adventures as well (pregnant belly and all) so I didn’t get any shots of the kids.snow day 2016-10

But we did make sure to make some tracks in the snow just like Peter from the story.


On another day, Daddy took them outside (my pregnant self was too worn out from the day before). They had more snowball fights and did a little baseball practice which was a lot of fun!


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Sam got pretty serious about getting Daddy!

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These whimsical snowmen were easy to make. Mine is the one in the middle and it looks more like a scarecrow according to the boys. Oh well.

We free painted our paper first and while it dried we cut out our snowmen circles. Timmy and I pulled some of the snow drift scrap paper out that was leftover from our Snowy Day Collages (top of the post) to add to ours. Sam insisted on a soccer ball in his picture for some reason. We just used various scrap paper, stickers, and sequins to decorate our snowmen.

I wish I could say this was a fun activity, but mostly it was stressful. Timmy was tired and made the entire project difficult for everyone (he even spilled paint … everywhere). I do think Sam would have enjoyed it if I had opted to give Timmy a nap instead of letting him paint too. Timmy put his snowman smile upside down making it a frown and I left it because it just seemed so fitting.

Most of the time these sort of projects are a lot of fun, but sometimes, they just aren’t. πŸ™‚


On another day, we experimented with ice melting. I set up four plates with four pieces of ice. Well, actually the boys did. They got out the plates and set the plates up with ice.

We left one piece of ice alone as our control. Then, we put salt on one, wrapped aluminum foil around another, and newspaper around the last piece of ice. We all predicted which one would melt first and last. I used our white board to record our answers.

We all thought the ice with the salt on it would melt first. Sam and Timmy predicted the ice that had nothing on it would melt last. The adults all predicted the aluminum foil would melt last.


Then, we observed. And observed. And observed. Timmy kept licking the salt and making funny faces.


While we waited we read about water from a book my mom gave me a few years ago leftover from her teaching days. I couldn’t find it on Amazon to link to it. We talked about the water cycle and at what point water freezes. The boys were totally intrigued!

Then, it was time for our results. We were all surprised by the results because the newspaper melted the slowest!

It wasn’t until the experiment was over and we had time to think about it that we realized newspaper is an insulator and aluminum foil pulls in heat which makes the ice melt really fast! I had to have Daddy come in to explain it all to us. I’m really thankful we’re a work at home family and Daddy is right here to help me when I get stuck. Plus he loved being our science superhero. πŸ™‚

I highly recommend this experiment! We all learned a lot!

And that was our week with The Snowy Day. It was a lot of fun and totally worth spending a little time each day on!

Other posts you might like:

Snow Themed Picture Books for Read Aloud Time

Winter just lends itself to reading for us. I wanted to capture some of our new favorite snow themed picture books (and some old favorites) to refer back to later.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

I will be sure to update this post with new finds as the days roll on.

A Visit to Virginia to Get a Break from the Snow

We took a trip to Virginia to get a break from the snow – and to see family of course. Plus Mark quit his job so it was a good time to get away and just take a break from LIFE.

It was so nice to be in short sleeved shirts, playing outside, and taking in the sun again! We had a lot of wonderful family time and created so many memories that I doubt I will ever forget.

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These two are inseparable. There bond was instant, and I’m sure lasting. DSC_0035

Selfies with Aunt Heather, of course!DSC_0039

See? Inseparable!DSC_0044 DSC_0051IMG_7582_1024

IMG_7587_1024Nannie was itching to feed the baby. πŸ˜‰IMG_7683_1024Superhero Timmy! We tried so hard to not get a blurry picture, but my phone just wasn’t cooperating.

IMG_7699_1024I’ve never seen a family as crazy about ice cream as this family.

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One day was just way too pretty to sit inside. Plus the daffodils were in bloom so I had to pull out the camera. Wait until you see these pictures! I am so glad I pulled out the big camera.gloucester visit-2-2 gloucester visit-3-2 gloucester visit-4-2 gloucester visit-5-2 gloucester visit-6-2 gloucester visit-7-2 gloucester visit-8-2 gloucester visit-9-2 gloucester visit-10-2 gloucester visit-11-2 gloucester visit-12-2

I just love the details of this picture. The rolls, the curled toes, the little fingers, the baby daffodils…I could go on and on.gloucester visit-13-2 gloucester visit-14-2 gloucester visit-15-2 gloucester visit-16-2 gloucester visit-17-2 gloucester visit-18-2

Sam keeping Timmy from eating the daffodils. gloucester visit-19-2 gloucester visit-20-2

Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the daffodils. gloucester visit-21-2

And gear up for family pictures!


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We took a walk around Williamsburg on another day. Man, the weather was just beautiful while we were in Virginia! DSC_0024_1024 DSC_0032_1024IMG_7642_1024

Sam had his first sleepover at Aunt Heather’s and Uncle Ray Ray’s. We expected to have to pick him up, but we never got the call. So sweet!


The Daffodil festival was also going on while we were there. This was my first time to make it to one even though I’d heard so much about it. It was wonderful! The kids had fun and we met a lot of people…well, I met a lot of people. haha!DSC_0065_1024 DSC_0069_1024 DSC_0080_1024 DSC_0082_1024 DSC_0084_1024 DSC_0122_1024 DSC_0143_1024

Sam’s first pony ride. He wanted to do it again!IMG_7611_1024IMG_7710_1024

We wrapped up our time in Virginia at Busch Gardens, or as Sam lovingly referred to it – Good Bushes. πŸ™‚IMG_7713_1024 IMG_7736_1024 IMG_7742_1024

Our time in Virginia was gloriously blessed. It was hard to leave. When it was time to say goodbye at the airport I stood with Timmy on my back, holding Sam tightly and crying right along with him. I’m so grateful for the Duttons!

Family Snow Shoeing Time

We borrowed some snow shoes and took a hike around our neighborhood with the boys. I have to say it was both easier and harder than I expected it to be. But mostly? It was so much fun!

Sam had a little bit of the whines going on, but he’s getting a little too big for the carrier and it was cold. We still had fun!

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Frosty the Snowman is Real!

You’d think living where there is winter for six months of the year, we’d build more snowmen. But … we don’t.

However, Grammy sent us a snowman kit for Christmas, and we couldn’t resist taking advantage even if Frosty’s hat was stolen by a neighborhood dog. The owner’s returned it at least.


In Steamboat, you don’t really roll a snow ball around the way we did growing up. The snow is too fine and powdery to do that. So you have to pack it into little mounds and sort of carve yourself a snowman. DSC_0055_1024 DSC_0057_1024

No problem though, you just get a really over-sized snowman whose hat looks like it belongs to an elf. DSC_0074_1024 DSC_0078_1024 DSC_0079_1024 DSC_0080_1024

Frosty needed a hug!DSC_0081_1024 DSC_0089_1024What a fun day for some family snowman building carving.