Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Children's Resurrection Scene

My husband thought I was making a joke about our spring snow, last night, when I asked him if he'd mind pulling the Christmas boxes out of the attic for me.

He wasn't thrilled when he realized I was serious, but he's a sweetheart, so he obliged my whim, once I explained to him all I wanted was the Little People Nativity set, and assured him I wasn't planning on decking the halls for April.

It was the children's turn to be confused, when I started setting the Little People around the salt clay tomb we'd made earlier in the evening (an excellent idea Little Page Turners , passed on from a friend - check theirs out for the salt clay recipe, instructions, and some beautiful pictures).

At first, I was just going to put Mary, the Angel, the donkey, and possibly the baby Jesus in the scene. After all, they were each present for the Nativity, and the Resurrection. But, as I talked it out with the children, we realized there are more similarities between the two points in Christ's life.

The shepherd got to stay, because Jesus is the Good Shepherd. And, He also became the Passover Lamb. And, since He chose to take the foolish of the world, and make them wise, the wise men got to stay too. Though we changed their names to disciples, and now the spices they are bringing, are burial perfumes. Even the swaddling cloth on the baby fits the resurrection story. The whole evening turned into a lively discussion, and really brought home the details of the Bible accounts of both stories.

I can see we've got a new, yearly tradition, and a fun tactile display for Easter.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Lamb Place Card Holder Craft

The little ones have been helping me put together place card holders for Easter dinner, an idea we're modifying from one we found at the Crafts for All Seasons site. Theirs is very cute, but a little labor intensive, because they use q-tips for the lamb's wool. We simplified things, by keeping the q-tips for the lambs' ears, but using cotton balls, for the rest of the wool.

To make our lambs, we used glue and tape, cotton balls, one q-tip per lamb, an empty cereal box, black construction paper, a white crayon, scissors, and two clothes pins per lamb.

I cut oval bodies, from the cereal box, using the clothes pin legs, as a guide for the size, and smaller oval heads, from the construction paper.

We used the white crayon to draw on faces, and then glued the heads to the bodies, and added cotton balls (we should have added the cotton balls to the printed side of the cardboard, and left the plain side facing out - but live and learn).

We finished the heads off with a cotton ball on the forehead, and the tips of the q-tip for ears.

Finally, we glued, and taped the lambs to the clothes pin legs...

...which will hold our place cards.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Candy Corn Cookie Experiments

I made up a batch of Easter/spring candy corn, tonight. Thanks to our favorite Homemade Dessert Recipe (click, here, to view it), every holiday, in our house, has become an occasion for a batch of sugary delight.

I actually made this particular candy after seeing a picture of a cupcake topped with a flower, made out of pastel candy corn. I thought it would be fun to make some flower cookies, that way. But, frosted sugar cookies topped with candy corn, sounded pretty sweet - even for us.

I thought maybe we could bake the cookies with the candy corn already on top of them. I was pretty sure the candy corn would melt, but I hoped they'd keep most of their form. The boys reasoned, the worst we'd end up with would be candy/cookie blobs, and that sounded even better to them than flowers.

The candy corn did melt, but in a surprising flower petal sort of way.

We broke off the crunchy parts (which we saved, of course, because crunchy candy corn is quite a novelty in, and of itself), and the resulting cookies are sort of flower like, in a hot cross bun kind of way.

They're kind of crunchy, and chewy at the same time, and while they're not terrible, I think we'll eat the rest of our candy corn sans cookies, and leave the flowers for another day.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Easter Lily Craft and Book

We kicked things off for Easter today, with Liz Curtis Higgs' The Parable of the Lily. It's a sweet, Easter themed story, about a father's gift, at first unappreciated, and overlooked, but which brings joy, repentance, and forgiveness in the end.

To go with it, we made a bouquet of hand print Easter lilies.

The girls traced, and cut out their hand prints.

While, I prepared pipe cleaner stems (we didn't have enough green, so I used blue, white, and pink, too), with a bit of yellow pipe cleaner wrapped around the top, for stamen.

We wrapped the hand prints around the pipe cleaners, taping them so the thumb, and pinkies touched.

Then, we rolled the fingers down around a pencil.

And, finally, we put them into a vase filled with shreds of tissue paper, in the middle of the table.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Amigurumi Crochet Lamb Pattern

Okay, as promised, here is the pattern, or my alterations to the pattern, for the amigurumi crochet lamb.

Begin, by following the body section, of Lion Brands' frog pattern (rounds 1 - 23), only in white, rather than green.


In gray, chain 2.
R1: Work six sc in the first chain.
R2: 2 sc in each sc around - 12 sc.
R3: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc, rep from * around - 18 sc.
R4: *2 sc in next sc, sc in the next 2 sc, rep from * around - 24 sc.
R5: *2 sc in next sc, sc in the next 3 sc, rep from * around - 30 sc.
R6: *2 sc in next sc, sc in the next 4 sc, rep from * around - 36 sc.
R7: Sc in each sc around - 36 sc.
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing on. Use white yarn to stitch on a nose, and mouth.

Then, sew the face over the end of the body, where the stitches are loosest, from decreasing.

Sew on two button eyes, just above the face. If the lamb is for a young child, you might consider using safety eyes instead, but then they will need to be added to the body, before it is sewed closed.


Make 4, in gray.

Chain 2.
R1: Work 6 sc in first chain.
R2: 2 sc in each sc around - 12 sc.
R3 - 4: Sc in each sc around - 12 sc.
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing on. Stuff, and sew onto the bottom of the body.


Chain 2, in white.
R1: Work 6 in first chain.
R2: 2 sc in each sc around - 12 sc.
R3: Sc in each sc around - 12 sc.
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing on. Stuff, and sew onto the backside of the body.


Make 2 in gray.

Chain 2.
R1: Work 6 in first chain.
R2: 2 sc in each sc around -12 sc.
Skip one sc, slip stitch though next sc, pull tight to bring the bottom end together, and sew on to the top of the body, just behind, and to the outside, of the eyes.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Science Sunday - Concave, Convex, and Focal Points of a Magnifying Glass

We kept our Science Sunday project pretty simple, today. My husband has been out of town for the weekend (helping my folks move), and after herding six children to church, and back, on my own, this morning, simple sounded good.

First, over lunch, I pointed out to the younger children, if they looked at their reflections on the back of their spoons, while holding the spoon up normally, they looked kind of skinny, but if they turned the spoon sideways, they looked fat, and if they flipped the spoon over, and looked at the front part, they looked upside down. I explained, very briefly, about light bouncing off of concave (dipped in), and convex (bowed out) surfaces.

Then, I pulled out a couple of magnifying glasses (which have convex lenses), and showed the children, if they look through them they could see a magnified projection of what was on the other side. As they pulled the magnifying glass away from what they were looking at, the object looked bigger, and bigger, gradually becoming blurry, and then suddenly, coming back into focus, but upside down. This phenomenon has to do with the focal point of the lens.

We watched an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy, about light and optics (you can view it online, here), that explained about convex, and concave lenses, and how light is reflected, focused, and bent. Most of it was a little wild, and complicated for the younger children though, so after nap, I'm hoping to follow it up with The Magic School Bus Gets a Bright Idea (which is also on the link above).
Anyway, they had quite a good time making each other turn upside down, with the magnifying glasses.
You can find more kid's science fun at this week's Science Sunday link up, at Adventures in Mommydom.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Amigurumi Crochet Lamb

One of the things, that I really love about amigurumi is how adaptable the patterns are. Take Lion Brands' frog, for instance.

Make the ball in white, instead of green.

Leave off the scrawny frog arms, and legs, and the bulging eyes, and instead, give it a face, using the same spiral pattern as for the ball...

...a tail...

...a couple of ears...

...and four, stubby legs...

...and, you have a little lamb...

...who's just plain cute, front... back.

If you're interested in the pattern, other than the sphere part, which you can find at the Lion Brand link above, I'll try to get it posted tomorrow. I made this guy, after the kids went to bed, as an Easter surprise, and now it's past my bedtime, too.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

What My Child is Reading - March 27, 2010

We read several fun Passover themed books this week.

This Is The Matzah, by Abby Levine, does an excellent job explaining the modern Passover celebration, as well as the stories, traditions, and symbols behind it. Most of our reading, this week though, came straight out of the Bible, for the older children, and The Young Reader's Bible, for the little ones.

We've been with the Hebrews, and Egyptians in the book of Exodus, all week. But, now we'll jumped ahead to the New Testament, for the Triumphal Entry (can you believe Palm Sunday is tomorrow, already!?!), and the last supper - another Passover story.
For more children's book reviews, and recommendations, find out what everyone else has been reading, at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns' What My Child Is Reading weekly link up/blog hop.
It's great to be a homeschooler.