school days: a break for the holidays

december (until the 25th) has been busy.  busy with gifts for christmas.  busy because aaron's work takes up most of his time during the holiday (which equals double duty at home for me).  it's the same every year, so instead i made the executive decision to break from "school" stuff (this really just means less structured days) and just go with what works for the day.

i had a few holiday activities/crafts planned for emma and miraculously did all of them (of course it helps that i didn't aim too high.  ha!).

1. gingerbread house.

i'm glad we did this one earlier in the month, because i had this grand idea that i was going to make my own gingerbread to build the house.  especially after we went to see those gingerbread houses downtown.  it turned out okay...definitely no match for the ones that we saw.  but emma was quite pleased with the result (and really that's all that matters), and gibson managed to snag one of the trees before it was time to eat them.  i'll have to say, midway through the building process those gingerbread house kits began sounding much more appealing than my lame DIY gingerbread walls and roof.
2. st. nicholas.

we missed st. nicholas day (december 6) by the time we got around to learning about him, but we did manage to do a couple of simple crafts.  the first was downloaded from here.  emma colored the picture (she thought green would be lovely), cut it out and then wrapped it around a toilet paper roll (sorry no finished product photo).  i suggested we turn it into an ornament, but she wanted to use it as a hand puppet...works for me!
the second craft was to make a st. nicholas day promise card, which i got here (scroll down a bit).  on the inside, i wrote out "justice", "charity", and "love of God" in pencil and had emma trace it in a color of her choice.  then we talked about how we could do those things in our life and picked 1 to write down for each section.  i also included one of her old memory verses, which seemed appropriate for this activity.  after everything was complete, emma found a special spot for it on our tree.
we didn't have time to find library books on st. nicholas, but i did read a couple of stories about him to emma from this site.  afterward, we talked about how stockings and stories of santa claus coming to bring gifts were connected to what we had learned about nicholas.

3.  books on christmas.

we read many, many books on christmas.  we found a great variety at the library and from our own collection.  gibson really liked finding the baby jesus in some of the books we checked out.  he also managed to tear out a few pages too...yikes!

4. building a snow lantern.

we got this idea from one of the library books we checked out: christmas in noisy village.  i wasn't sure if we were going to get around to doing this one since not all snow is created equal when it comes to making snowballs.  but it worked out and voila! a snow lantern 2 days before christmas.  after putting it all together, emma wanted to sing a few christmas carols by the lantern (like in the book) so that's what we did.
i think when there's more snow (which i know there will be plenty more to come) we might have to make more snow lanterns.  one was just not enough for the front of the house.


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