Wednesday, 25 November 2009

December Circle Time

December Circle Time

Hymn -
Silent Night

Scripture -
Luke 2:8-14
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Alphabet beanbag toss

Verse -
Hush a bye, hush a bye, holy night,
angels have brought the child of light:
All mankind shall gently bear Him,
all the beasts shall nestle near Him,
all the flowers shall adore Him,
all the stones shall kneel before Him,
all the world shall worship Him,
Cherubim & Seraphim.

Winter - Wynstones

Finger Play -

Mary rocks her baby, (rock)
Joseph holds a light (twinkle fingers)
ox & ass are standing
In the stable bright (‘rainbow’ hands)

Shepherds in the doorway
Comr to greet the child, (bow)
Now they kneel before Him (mime)
And His mother mild

One holds out a lambkin (hold out hands)
soft & white as snow, (stroke)
All shall give their presents (hold out hands)
Ere they homeward go (wave)
Winter - Wynstones

Song -

We are shepherds& we sing of lots of jolly things.
We can dance & we can shout, we can wave our caps about.
The stars shine above us, the snow shines below And we are so happy in this wondrous glow.

Winter - Wynstones

Math Facts -
Counting 1-100 / 100-1 beanbag games

(bean bag toss. Whisper numbers, shout the skip count numbers)

There was a family strange indeed;
Each member had a peculiar speed
They could walk for half a day
Counting footsteps all the way.
Here they come,
Number One

I am proper, neat & prim
My walk is straight, my clothes are trim
That every one’s the same for me.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 (up to 24)

But my two steps are not the same.
For I must lean upon my cane
Although I’m bent & weak & old
I can still count with numbers bold

Im a lad, light & gay
And I’d much rather play
I can run with my ball
While the numbers I call

Our French Song -

He is born the divine child
He is born the divine child,
          Play oboe, resonate musette.
          He is born the divine child,
          Let's all sing his accession.
          For more than four thousand years
          We've promised by the prophets,
          For more than four thousand years
          We've been waiting for this happy time.
          A stable is his lodging,
          A bit of hay is his little bed,
     A stable is his lodging,
          For a god such a humble thing.
          O Jesus, o all powerful king,
          Such a little child you are,
          O Jesus, o all powerful God,
          Rule completely over us.

Il est né le divin enfant
Il est né le divin enfant,
Jouez hautbois, résonnez musette.
Il est né le divin enfant,
Chantons tous son avènement.
Depuis plus de quatre mille ans
Nous le promettaient les prophètes,

Depuis plus de quatre mille ans
Nous attendions cet heureux temps.
Une étable est son logement,
Un peu de paille est sa couchette,
Une étable est son logement,
Pour un dieu quel abaissement.
O Jésus, ô roi tout puissant,
Tout petit enfant que vous êtes,
O Jésus, ô roi tout puissant,
Régnez sur nous entièrement.

Rosie’s Story - (preschooler)
The little Fir Tree
Winter - wynstones

Snack time & read aloud -
One Wintry Night

Monday, 23 November 2009

Advent is coming!

Advent ~ 4th Sunday before December 25
(the Sunday between November 27 and December 3 inclusive.)

Our Advent Traditions ~

Advent Morning devotions : We use the Jesse tree devotions here. However, I personally do not think all of the devotions are age appropriate for my children, so some of them I change or miss out altogether.
The decorations I sewed or needle felted & some my girls made.

Our Advent Calendar ~ This year we will be using this calendar.

And this book

Our Advent Wreath ~
The advent wreath is full of symbolism, which makes rich learning for children & adults alike.
The growing light heralds the growing anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ who is 'The light of the world' John 8:12.
The circle demonstrates that God & His love has no beginning & no end. The evergreen, everlasting life.
The colour of the candles has its own significance. Three purple (the colour of royalty - used as it is the season of the coming of our King) and one rose (the joy candle.)The fifth candle is a white candle~ the Christ candle and is placed in the centre of the wreath and lit on Christmas day to celebrate the miracle of Jesus birth.

Play Christmas music

Begin our Christmas Journals We began these on Stir Up Sunday.
You can see my girls journals in this post. They decorated the outside with old Christmas cards & recorded Stir Up Sunday.
They will add drawings of advent happenings, photos & other memorabilia. Makes a lovely keepsake for them.
My own Christmas journal is one I started when Elianna was a baby. I love to look back over each year's happenings & my thoughts.

My Christmas devotional reading
This year I will be reading A Child in Winter: Advent, Epiphany, Christmas with Caryll Houselander

Be Christmas Angels: Each person has a secret partner, for whom they do secret acts of kindness, throughout Advent.
Straw for the baby Jesus. For each kind deed throughout advent, you may add a piece of straw to the baby Jesus’ crib

‘Happy Advent’ cake ~
This dark chocolate Bundt cake is a chocolate-lover's dream. This is a delicious and intensely chocolate cake, especially if you use a high-quality or Dutch-process cocoa.
• 8 ounces butter (2 sticks)
• 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa, such as Valrhona or high-quality, such as Scharffen Berger*
• 3/4 cup water
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• 2 cups all-purpose flour, stir before measuring
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt

Grease and flour a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to GM 4
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; add cocoa, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the water and remove from heat. To the warm cocoa mixture, add the sugar, sour cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and eggs; whisk until smooth. In another bowl combine the flour, soda, and salt. Add all at once to the first mixture, whisking until well blended.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake with a knife and invert onto a large plate.
Serves 10 to 12.
*If you're using a standard baking cocoa (not Dutch-process or high-quality) add 1/2 teaspoon more of baking soda to the dry ingredients.

Begin our Nativity scene. Animals, Mary & Joseph, shepherds & finally, on The Epiphany, the Wise Men. We use a porcelain set that I purchased for my first Christmas as a married lady with a home of her own : )

Bring out our play Nativity set. This is the set the girls play with. It is just wonderful! Beautifully made & great for play.

Make Christmas cards
Make Christmas gifts More about these two in a future post.

Bake cookies *Lots* of cookies : )

Bundle up in P.J’s & snowsuits, jump in the car with a flask of hot chocolate & go for a drive to see all the christmas lights This is usually on Elianna's birthday, but will be a different date this year, due to an extra special birthday ; )

Buy & decorate our christmas tree Oh! i love this traditon!

Go for a woodland walk to collect holly,pine cones, boughs, etc to decorate our home.

Make applesauce ornaments

Bake a gingerbread house

Snuggle up under the quilt to watch Polar Express with cookies, hot chocolate & a roaring fire.

• 4 cups whole milk
• 4 cups half-and-half
• 1 pound white chocolate, chopped
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 8 to 10 vanilla beans
In a saucepan on medium heat, heat the milk and half-and-half to just below the simmering point. Remove the pan from the heat and add the white chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, add the vanilla and whisk vigorously. Reheat very gently and serve with a vanilla bean stirrer in each cup.
(Serves 8-10. From The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

Have a ‘Cocoa story time’
~ Have an afternoon of Christmas stories, cookies & cocoa

On the Solstice, decorate our garden with goodies for the birds

Attend the Carol service at church

I will be writing a post soon about our school time during advent.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Happy Stir Up Sunday!

How was your day?
Here is a peek at ours...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Preparing for Stir Up Sunday

This Sunday is Stir Up Sunday ~ the sunday before advent

This custom is thought to have originated, because, on the Sunday before advent, Victorian congregations were exhorted to ‘stir up’ & ‘bring forth good works’ a timely reminder to the women that it was time to prepare their Christmas puddings.
An essential part of this tradition is that all members of the household must take a turn stirring the pudding while making a wish. Finally, stir a lucky coin into the sticky mixture. We can look forward to finding it on Christmas day.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Traditional Christmas Pudding by Delia Smith
Serves 8-10
4 oz shredded suet 2 large eggs
2oz self raising flour 5 fl oz (75 ml) stout
4 oz (110 g) white breadcrumbs 2 tablespoons rum
1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice grated zest 1/2 large lemon
1/4 level teaspoon grated nutmeg grated zest 1/2 large orange
good pinch ground cinnamon 1 small apple, peeled cored & finely chopped
8oz soft dark brown sugar 1 oz almonds, chopped
4 oz sultanas 1 oz candied peel
40z raisins 10 oz currants

You will also need a 2 pint (1.2 litre) pudding basin, lightly greased.
This recipe makes one large pudding in a 2 pint (1.2 litre) basin. If you have any left over it will re-heat beautifully, wrapped in foil, in the oven next day. If you want two smaller puddings, use two 1 pint (570 ml) basins, but give them the same steaming time.
Begin the day before you want to steam the pudding. Take your largest, roomiest mixing bowl and start by putting in the suet, sifted flour and breadcrumbs, spices and sugar. Mix these ingredients very thoroughly together, then gradually mix in all the dried fruit, mixed peel and nuts followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests. Don't forget to tick everything off so as not to leave anything out. Now in a smaller basin measure out the rum and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together. Next pour this over all the other ingredients, and begin to mix very thoroughly. It's now traditional to gather all the family round, especially the children, and invite everyone to have a really good stir and make a wish! The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency – that is, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl. If you think it needs a bit more liquid add a spot more stout. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
Next day pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string (you really need to borrow someone's finger for this!). It's also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle. Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours. Do make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from the kettle from time to time. When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold, then remove the steam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easier manoeuvring. Now your Christmas pudding is all ready for Christmas Day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light. Under the bed in an unheated bedroom is an ideal place.
To cook, fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer. Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2¼ hours. You'll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.
To serve, remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping. Slide a palette knife all round the pudding, then turn it out on to a warmed plate. Place a suitably sized sprig of holly on top. Now warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat, and as soon as the brandy is hot ask someone to set light to it. Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding – but don't pour it over until you reach the table. When you do, pour it slowly over the pudding, sides and all, and watch it flame to the cheers of the assembled company! When both flames and cheers have died down, serve the pudding with rum sauce, or rum or brandy butter.

The Classic Christmas Cake by Delia Smith
1 lb currants
6 oz sultanas
6 oz raisins
2 oz (50 g) glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
2 oz mixed candied peel
3 tablespoons brandy, plus extra for 'feeding'
8 oz plain flour
1/2 level tsp salt
1/4 level tsp grated nutmeg
½ level teaspoon ground mixed spice
8 oz unsalted butter
8 oz soft brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 oz chopped almonds
1 level dessertspoon black treacle
grated zest 1 lemon
grated zest 1 orange

You will also need an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin or a 7 inch (18 cm) square tin, greased and lined with silicone paper (baking parchment). Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin for extra protection.
You need to begin this cake the night before you want to bake it. All you do is weigh out the dried fruit and mixed peel, place it in a mixing bowl and mix in the brandy (or orange juice) as evenly and thoroughly as possible. Cover the bowl with a clean tea cloth and leave the fruit aside to absorb the brandy for 12 hours.
Next day pre-heat the ovento gas mark 1.Then measure out all the rest of the ingredients, ticking them off to make quite sure they're all there. The treacle will be easier to measure if you remove the lid and place the tin in a small pan of barely simmering water.
Now begin the cake by sifting the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl, lifting the sieve up high to give the flour a good airing. Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until it's light, pale and fluffy. Now beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add them to the creamed mixture a tablespoonful at a time; keep the whisk running until all the egg is incorporated. If you add the eggs slowly by degrees like this the mixture won't curdle. If it does, don't worry, any cake full of such beautiful things can't fail to taste good! When all the egg has been added, fold in the flour and spices, using gentle, folding movements and not beating at all (this is to keep all that precious air in). Now fold in the fruit, peel, chopped nuts and treacle and finally the grated lemon and orange zests.
Next, using a large kitchen spoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tin, spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon and, if you don't intend to ice the cake, lightly drop the whole blanched almonds in circles or squares all over the surface. Finally cover the top of the cake with a double square of silicone paper with a 50p-size hole in the centre (this gives extra protection during the long slow cooking). Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4½-4¾ hours. Sometimes it can take up to ½-¾ hour longer than this, but in any case don't look till at least 4 hours have passed.
Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling. When it's cold 'feed' it – make small holes in the top and base of the cake with a cocktail stick or small skewer, then spoon over a few teaspoons of brandy, wrap it in double silicone paper secured with an elastic band and either wrap again in foil or store in an airtight container. You can now feed it at odd intervals until you need to ice or eat it.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Aprons & More...

A baking is such a Big Thing in our house, I spent some time this weekend sewing new aprons for the girls & made them some 'Baker's Hats' to go with them....

The gorgeous linen / cotton blend I used came from here

I slightly adapted these patterns.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Happy Martinmas!

I walk with my little lantern,
my lantern walks with me.
Above the stars are shining
on earth are shining we.

Oh lantern light
you shine so bright.
Oh hear the angels sing.
Oh hear the angels sing.

Remembrance Day ~ November 11th

They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condem
At the going down of the sun, & in the morning we will remember them.

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Remebrance Sunday is always the Sunday nearest to November 11th. This is because the Armistice which sealed the end of the First World War was signed at 11 am on November 1th, 1918 ~ the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The First World War was a very terrible conflict which “put out the lights all over Europe”, saw the deaths of hundreds of thousands of young men, toppled monarchies, ushered in the modern era. People in our country & in the commonwealth who had lost sons & husbands & friends wanted a national commemoration & mourning ~ & so the idea came about of observing two minutes silence annually at the 11th hour on november 11th. The two minutes silence has become part of our national calender, although now it is not observed on the 11th, but on the Sunday nearest to that date.
Some of the bloodiest fighting of World War One took place in the Flanders and Picardy regions of Belgium and Northern France. The poppy was the only thing which grew in the aftermath of the complete devastation.John McCrae, a doctor serving there with the Canadian Armed Forces, deeply inspired and moved by what he saw, wrote these verses:

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.
‘Flanders Poppies’ are worn ~ replicas of those that bloomed on the terrible muddy battlefields in that war. When we wear a poppy it should be to remind us to pray for those who have died in the two World Wars & other conflicts. We need to remember their great sacrifice & thank God for the freedom we have in our country.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Preparing For Martinmas

Martinmas ~ November 11th

Saint Martin, the soldier who became bishop
Martin was a native of Pannonia -- in modern-day Hungary -- and his father was very anxious that he should go into the Army. This was in the days of the Roman Empire, and to be an officer in the Imperial Army was a very fine opportunity for any young man.
As a junior officer, he was sent to Gaul -- that wild land of northwest Europe inhabited by the mostly pagan Frankish people. There were some Christian cities where bishops were established and a Christian civilization was beginning to emerge.
Martin was interested in Christianity and tried to find out about it. Its message attracted him, and he started to obey some of its precepts. He earned himself some notoriety by refusing to join in some of the bawdier songs and more outlandish activities of military life. He gave freely to the poor, was kind to his servants, and liked to pray. But he postponed the actual step of Christian baptism.
His first posting was to Rheims, and from there he was sent to Amiens. One bitterly cold night, as he was striding along in uniform, a shivering beggar cried out to him for alms. Martin was warmly dressed in the standard-issue thick purple-and-white cloak that was the hallmark of the Imperial officer. Looking at the beggar, Martin knew what he ought to do. He took off his warm cloak and, using his gleaming sword, sliced it in two. He gave half to the beggar and retained the other half so that he would still be in regulation uniform.
The night, the beggar appeared to Martin in a dream: but as a figure surrounded with shining glory -- Christ Himself, still wearing the half of Martin's cloak. Our Lord reminded Martin of His words in the Gospel: "I was naked and you clothed me ... in as much as you did it to the least of the little ones, you did it to Me".
Martin got himself baptized as a Christian, and when his term of duty was up, he left the army and decided to become a priest. He lived for many years the life of a hermit, and, attracting others to the rule of prayer and meditation that he followed, founded a small monastic community that grew steadily.
In due course, Martin's holiness led him to be chosen as Bishop of Tours, although he didn't want the job. As Bishop, his influence was immense -- he won many from the Druid religion to Christianity, and was a central figure in laying the foundations of Christian France.

Matthew 25:31-40:
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

In former times, especially in the North of England & in Scotland, Martinmas was an occasion for a great feast, because it was the date when beasts were slaughtered so that the meat could be stored for the long winter months ahead. Whole oxen would be roasted & enjoyed & there was much communal merriment.
"Martinmas is an obvious day for some act of charity which will benefit the cold and poor this coming winter."

"A quick spell of warm weather around his feast day is known as "St. Martin's Little Summer" in Europe." (Indian Summer)

Some nice things to do for Martinmas:

Start a family collection for charity.
Begin knitting something warm for someone who needs it.
Bag up clothing to give to the needy.
Change your beds from cotton to flannel.
Surprise your children with new winter pajamas.
Read aloud or re-tell the story of Saint Martin of Tours.
Make lanterns from watercolour paintings & oil, or glass jars & tissue paper...
Invite friends on a lantern walk at dusk.
Enjoy a special supper for Martinmas with a hot casserole of beef to commemorate the old feasting traditions, served with jacket potatoes & butter.

Winter Spiced Beef Stew
Taken from Dawn's Blog
(Adapted from a recipe found in The fix it & forget it cookbook)
• 2 lbs. stewing beef, cubed
• 5 carrots, sliced
• 2 parsnips, cut in chunks
• 1 1/2 cans diced tomatoes, plain
• 1/2 teaspoon cloves (yes, cloves!)
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Combine all ingredients in a slowcooker. Cover. Cook on high 5-6 hours. Serves 4-5. Absolutely delicious and nice served over rice.

Bake St.Martin's horseshoe cookies

Although St. Martin's life was austere and sober, his day was always celebrated in the Old World manner, with feasting, merriment, and thanksgiving for harvest foods. In Poland rich cookies shaped like horseshoes were baked for St. Martin's snow-white horse, on which he "comes riding through the snow" when one least expects him.

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats, uncooked

Cream butter or margarine; add sugar gradually while continuing to cream; beat until fluffy. Stir in vanilla, flour, and salt. Blend in rolled oats. Roll out about 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut in strips 6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. On ungreased cookie sheets shape strips to resemble horseshoes. Bake at 325° for 20 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove carefully, as cookies are very rich and break easily.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Our Advent Book Basket

For those thinking ahead to advent, I thought I would share the books we have in our advent book basket.
I would love to hear of the books & stories you share with your children at this time of year, so please do leave a comment to let me know.

The Very First Christmas

great Christmas read aloud

The First Christmas

We have had this for years - I think it was the first Christmas book I bought when Elianna was a tiny baby

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore; illustrated by Tasha Tudor

If you know Tasha Tudor, you know this will be stunning!

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham

another great read aloud

Mary did you know?

Lyrics to the beautiful song - comes with a CD

Favorite Christmas Carols

A gorgeous book, with favorite carols.

The Cobweb Curtain

oh, I love this lovely re-telling of the legend! Do take a look at Dawn's wonderful blog for ideas on how to enjoy this story with your own children.

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett

The Twelve Days of Christmas, Board Book by Jan Brett

beautifuly illustrated by Jan Brett

Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories by L.M. Montgomery

For fans of Green Gables!

My First Story of Christmas

Given to my very own Rebekah Rose on her Christmas Eve dedication : )

The Tailor of Gloucester (The World of Beatrix Potter) by Beatrix Potter

A Christmas Classic!

Jesus' Christmas Party

My girls love the repetition of this book

Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers

Just beautiful

Country Angel Christmas by Tomie dePaola

a great story for the littlies

Merry the Lamb Finds Baby Jesus

Another very old book from our collection

This is the Star by Joyce Dunbar

stunning illustrations, gentle, rhythmic narrative.

The Legend of the Candy Cane

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

These are my three new books for this year : )

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Bonfire Night

Thursday is painting day, so following circle time, we set up for wet on wet.

I told a story about the the blue sky being gentle & shy & the wee stars wanting to shine out (we used dry brushed to 'lift' areas of the blue wash)
Then came the colour fairies, who danced & played with the stars - here we added our colour.
Elianna shouted "I know! I'ts fireworks!" Hurray! she got it : )
Lastly, we experimented with sprinkling our work with salt. This 'lifts' the colour & gave the appearance of tiny stars.

At lunchtime, we jumped into the car & headed off to the girls riding lessons, enjoying a 'car picnic' along the way.
We returned home cold & wet -(myself included, as I managed to fall into a puddle - flat on my face!)

The girls had a hot bath & daddy built our very own bonfire -

The girls roasted marshmallows & I got on with some special knitting.

Dinner was super - mashed potatoes, salmon & delicious young leeks from a neighbours garden.

The sound of distant fireworks lured my girls outside (dressing gowns & all!) & we watched the fine colours in the night sky. Soon followed by our long - held tradition of sparklers - in - the - garden! Accompanied, of course, by home made treacle toffee.

We had a lovely day. I had low expectations of today; I have been ill recently & have become tired & run down. But this afternoon was a good tonic for me- easy, comfortable family time. Just what the doctor ordered : )

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Guy Fawkes Night ~ November 5th

After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion. James I had, after all, had a Catholic mother. Unfortunately, James did not turn out to be more tolerant than Elizabeth and a number of young men, 13 to be exact, decided that violent action was the answer.A small group took shape, under the leadership of Robert Catesby. Catesby felt that violent action was warranted. Indeed, the thing to do was to blow up the Houses of Parliament. In doing so, they would kill the King, maybe even the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics. To carry out their plan, the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder - and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords. Guy Fawkes was given the job to keep watch over the barrels of gunpowder & to light the fuse. On the morning of November 5th 1605, soldiers discovered Guy hidden in the cellar & arrested him. The trail of gunpowder would never be lit.On the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire night. The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.

Bonfire night activities:

Read about Guy Fawkes
make treacle toffee & toffee apples
Make firework pictures with black cardstock, tempera paint & straws
Watch fireworks
visit a bonfire
Take special care of our pets

Treacle Toffee

1lb Soft Brown Sugar 

8oz Black Treacle

4oz Unsalted Butter 

2 tbsp Water 

1 tbsp White Vinegar

Place the butter, water and vinegar into a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat gently until the butter has melted. 
Add the sugar and black treacle, allow to fully dissolve, this takes about 20 minutes. 
Boil the mixture to a temperature of 138°C (280°F). 
Remove from the heat, allow the bubble to decrease. 
Pour the mixture into a well oiled 18cm (7 inch) sandwich tin. 
When the mixture has cooled a little mark the surface into squares with a knife. 
When cold break into squares, wrap in cellophane and store in an airtight container.

Toffee Apples

For 6 toffee apples;

Red apples work best-Granny Smiths etc too hard beneath crisp toffee shell

8 oz demerara sugar

110mls cold water

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 oz butter

1. Dissolve the sugar in the water over a moderate heat. When it has dissolved, stir in the vinegar, syrup and butter. Bring to a boil and cook without stirring until it reaches hard-crack stage (138C) or hardens into a ball when dropped in a jug of cold water. This should take around 10 minutes boiling time.
2. While the syrup is cooking, pierce each apple with a wooden stick. Once the toffee is ready, dip each apple into the hot toffee, turning it around in the syrup so that each one is fully coated.
3. Leave to harden on a lightly oiled tray before serving. If you're planning to keep them for a day or two, wrap the apples in cellophane.

our Circle Time poem;

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England's overthrow.

By God's mercy he was catch'd
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

November Circle Time

November Circle Time

Hymn -

Holy Holy Holy

Scripture -

Philippians 4:6-7:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Alphabet beanbag toss

Verse -

Grey squirrel, grey squirrel,
swish your bushy tail ( wave arm behind back)
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel,
swish your bushy tail ( wave arm behind back)
Wrinkle up your little nose (mime)
Hold a nut between your toes (run on the spot)
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel,
swish your bushy tail ( wave arm behind back)

Autumn - Wynstones

Finger Play -

A Farmer rose at the break of day, (stretch arms)
He got on his horse & galloped away. (gallop!)
He galloped away, he galloped away,
He got on his horse & galloped away. (gallop!)
Oh, come all my men, oh come, said he, (beckon finger)
Our carrots & turnips for to see. (put out hands)
In the warm brown earth they have grown so big
We must bring out our spades & dig dig dig. (mime)
So fetch your spades & come along
To dig up the roots with your arms so strong, (mime)
To lay them out in the sun to dry,
And then in the cart pile them up on high (mime)

Autumn - Wynstones

Song -

Autumn goodbye, Autumn goodbye,
You may no longer stay, Winter is on its way.
Autumn goodbye, Autumn goodbye,

Autumn - Wynstones

Clapping Rhyme -

Remember, remember the fifth of November (clap rhythmically , show 5 fingers)

Gunpowder, treason and plot. (clap rhythmically)

I see no reason, why gunpowder treason (clap rhythmically ( shake head)

Should ever be forgot. (clap rhythmically)

Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent (clap rhythmically)

To blow up king and parliament. (hands ‘burst’)

Three score barrels were laid below (3 fingers)

To prove old England's overthrow. (clap rhythmically)

By God's mercy he was catch'd (clap rhythmically)

With a darkened lantern and burning match. (clap rhythmically)

So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring. (shout!)

Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king. (shout!)

Math Facts -
Counting 1-100 / 100-1 beanbag games

(bean bag toss. Whisper numbers, shout the skip count numbers)

There was a family strange indeed;
Each member had a peculiar speed
They could walk for half a day
Counting footsteps all the way.
Here they come,
Number One

I am proper, neat & prim
My walk is straight, my clothes are trim
That every one’s the same for me.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 (up to 24)

But my two steps are not the same.
For I must lean upon my cane
Although I’m bent & weak & old
I can still count with numbers bold

Im a lad, light & gay
And I’d much rather play
I can run with my ball
While the numbers I call

My step is strong
I’ll not go wrong
With all my might
Ill guard what is right
I’ll always know
How far to go

Like a mouse I go
Fearfully tip toe
Looking to the left
Looking to the right
Watching to & fro
Danger’s not in sight
Lightly I arrive
I an number five.

Our French Song -

Do you know how to plant cauliflowers?

Do you know how to plant cauliflowers?
In the fashion, in the fashion
Do you know how to plant cauliflowers?
In the fashion of our place
We plant them with the finger
In the fashion, in the fashion
We plant them with the finger
In the fashion of our place
We plant them with the foot
In the fashion, in the fashion
We plant them with the foot
In the fashion of our place
Do you know how to plant cauliflowers?...
We plant them with the knee ...
We plant them with the elbow ...
Do you know how to plant cauliflowers?...
We plant them with the nose ...
We plant them with the head ...
Do you know how to plant cauliflowers?...

Savez-vous planter les choux?

Savez-vous planter les choux?
À la mode, à la mode
Savez-vous planter les choux?
À la mode de chez nous
On les plante avec le doigt
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le doigt
À la mode de chez nous
On les plante avec le pied
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le pied
À la mode de chez nous
Savez-vous planter les choux?...
On les plante avec le genou ...
On les plante avec le coude ...

Savez-vous planter les choux?...
On les plante avec le nez ...
On les plante avec le tête ...
Savez-vous planter les choux?...

(I copied this from the internet & now cannot find the source. Please leave a comment for me if you know the writer - I would like to credit Him & link to his website. Thank you)

Rosie’s Story - (preschooler)
Autumn Story -
pg 66 Autumn - wynstones

Our Hallowe'en

How was your weekend?