Easter Sunday

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. — John 3:16 NIV

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Happy Easter Sunday everyone!
Eat chocolate, do egg hunts, enjoy the spring weather, and remember to celebrate His glorious rising!

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Exhibition Hall – St. Patrick’s Day

Here are our completed St. Patrick’s Day crafts!
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Shamrock Doggy. The pompom nose is MIA…

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Stain-glass shamrock!

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Lots of drawings, stickering, gluing, painting!

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Various foam shamrocks decorated throughout the month. There were a few more but those were the nicest πŸ™‚

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Leprechaun man – legs and arms are attached with green Parisian clips so they are mobile, and I added an orange Popsicle stick to make a puppet πŸ™‚

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Celtic Cross craft
Check out this post to learn about what they represent!

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Mini Books to colour. Both are slightly monochromatic… πŸ™‚
Left is the Leprechaun Story mini book, and right is the Potato Counting book.
On of our library book had a girl counting backwards in Gaelic to summon a Leprechaun. Miss A learned how to count from 1 to 8 in Gaelic – and when we did the Potato Book, she automatically started counting in Gaelic! Love it πŸ™‚

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We hosted the neighbourhood St. Patrick’s Day playdate, and decorated some cupcakes!

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Top: Bingo Dauber/Do-a-Dot Rainbow
Bottom: Punched-Out Shamrocks Rainbow

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Freestyle shamrock gluing

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Hands & feet shamrocks – although they kind of look more like trees than shamrocks… πŸ™‚
We decorated them with a knot work design stamp.
On the left is Miss A (2.5 yrs) and on the right is Miss C (6 mo)

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Our marble painting shamrocks! Those were a blast to make πŸ™‚

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Shamrock Tree Craft
We decorated the tree in brown, and the shamrocks using green and orange markers, crayons and glitter glue sticks, and then I cut them out for A. I could have let her glue them with a glue stick, but I needed to nurse C and she still needs help with that, so I ran the lot into my laminator with the adhesive cartridge and just made her stickers πŸ˜‰
She LOVED that craft and keeps asking me to do it again! Thankfully, the website has tree crafts for almost every theme, so I’ll print the Spring and Easter ones πŸ˜‰

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That was fun!! Now on to Spring and Easter… πŸ™‚

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St. Patrick’s Day Fun!

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and we’ve been busy putting on our greens and getting our Irish on! πŸ™‚

I don’t have any actual hardcore Irish ancestry – there is some Irish on my dad’s side of the family, but it’s somewhere around my great-grand-mother, and even then, we don’t know if she was 1st generation Irish or the daughter of an Irish and Canadian parent… So I guess I’m a wee bit Irish, but nothing very defined. But somehow, I’ve just ALWAYS been fascinated by Ireland. I remember when I was in elementary school, a friend of mine was Irish and I was very jealous of her… lol And then I was interested in learning Gaelic Irish (still working on that, I know some basic), I was fascinated by Irish dancing and have done some too (I’ll get back into it when the littlest one is older – maybe next year), I just LOVE the music, learned the basic of playing the tin whistle, would LOVE to learn to jig on a fiddle… I did have the opportunity to go to Ireland in July 2009, and I’m just waiting to go back again πŸ™‚

So, naturally, I love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day πŸ˜€
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Some St. Patrick’s Background Info
As I’m sure you know, St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the saint by the same name, who came to Ireland around the years 400 or 460 – the actual dates are debated. As a boy, he was captured from England and was made to work as a slave shepherd in Northern Ireland. After he went home, he felt a calling to go back to Ireland to teach the people there about God. He trained as a priest, became a Bishop, and pretty much brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle. St. Patrick’s celebrates his ministry in Ireland, and the date of March 17th is due to the date of his death!

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is still very much a religious holiday, although much partying is done there too πŸ˜‰ Some people might choose to attend church to worship and give thanks for St. Patrick’s teachings.

Some St. Patrick’s symbols include the shamrock, which is a plant that grows in Ireland and looks like a clover. St. Patrick used it to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity – three entities in one God (the 3 leaves with 1 stem). There are many other legends associated with St. Patrick, including how he chased the snakes out of Ireland (there is, actually, no snakes in Ireland!), and how he chased the Devil away. In fact, there is a mountain in Ireland that is missing it’s top part, like if a round area on it’s top was blown away – that, legend says, happened when the Devil was chased away: as he left, he took a bite out of the mountain! You can see it in this picture I took from the Rock of Cashel, in co. Tipperary. (click to see it bigger)

You might also see Celtic crosses – the circle in the middle comes from the pagan symbolism of the sun. Like many other instances worldwide, Christian missionaries would take some of the pagan traditions of the locale and transfer them to their teachings to make those more accessible to the pagans. In this case, the circle for the sun became a symbol of God’s eternity. If you go into an Irish cemetery, you’ll see a lot of graves with this cross!

The harp is another symbol you might run into – it’s the national instrument of Ireland. I know, we always think of fiddles, uillean pipes (smaller versions of bagpipes) and accordions when we think of Irish music, but the harp is actually originally Irish, and in fact it’s Ireland national symbol. Ireland is the only country with an instrument as the national symbol!

What about leprechauns? Well those are make-believe, but they are a great deal of fun πŸ˜› The name is derived from the old Irish word Luchorpan, which means “wee one”. Indeed, they are believed to only be as big as your thumb, and if you catch one, it will give you it’s pot of gold, which he hides at the end of a rainbow.

And finally – the reason we all wear green? Well, in honour of the Emerald Isle, of course!

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Here are a bunch of crafts and activities I prepared for A to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!
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Books!!
Lots of books! I like to have theme books on the top of the book shelf πŸ™‚ Lots of them are from the library, The Story of Saint Patrick’s up front is ours – I really love those little books in that series!
One of A’s favourite so far is “Shannon and the World’s Tallest Leprechaun”, which you can peak in the middle at the back πŸ˜‰
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Crafts!!!
I explain some of the middle stuff in the next picture. At the bottom left you see a rainbow craft where we’ll glue punched out shamrocks in the little circles; next is a coloured shamrock memory game; next is a felt board rhyme (printed the shamrocks on cardstock, laminate, and stick a piece of sticky felt at the back, and the numbers are from a felt math set I have); above is a Leprechaun Man craft with Parisian clips so the arms and legs move (can’t find the link anymore 😦  I believe it’s somewhere on Making Learning Fun); and above is a shamrock tree craft, we will colour the B&W art and glue the shamrocks on the branches!
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Some sparkly sticky glitter foam sheets; a potato counting mini book to draw; a Leprechaun mini book to draw (the pages inside are B&W); some shamrock foams, the solid ones are thin foam and the sparkly ones are sticky; some punched out shamrocks from construction paper; in the middle it’s punched shamrocks in tissue paper for a stain glass craft (gluing them on contact paper, sticking another sheet of contact paper on top, then tracing a shamrock over it using this template and cutting it out – shamrock stain glass!); St. Patrick’s Day stickers; on top I have green, orange and white glitter glue and paint crayons; green orange and white markers; green orange and white pompoms; and foamy shamrocks; bottom is a celtic cross, cut out from a template (can’t find it either 😦  Next time I’ll note them down as I’m prepping them…) and ready to glue and assemble, I made light & dark green ones, yellow, and orange ones.
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File Folder games!
A Lower/Upper case alphabet match
(inspired by this post – scribd wanted me to pay to download her file so I found a similar
(same?) clipart and made my own! So it’s basically the same thing, just took longer coz
I made it πŸ˜‰ )

A Shamrock pattern match
And a St. Patrick’s Day Sudoku game
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This will be a marble painting! We will paint on the other side of the shamrock in the pan, each ball a different colour, moving the pan around to let them roll all over the paper. Then you can use the shamrock outline to cut it out!
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Magnet pompoms – I got some pompoms and a sticky magnetic strip, cut out some squares from it and stick on the back. There’s enough pompoms to fill each rainbow circle πŸ™‚Β  One rainbow has orange and the other pink.
And then some other themed pages. πŸ™‚
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A shamrock magnetic puzzle and some St. Patrick’s magnetic dominoes (printed on cardstock and run through the laminator with the magnetic cardrige – it laminates the top and puts a magnet on the back – love!)

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I also have many colouring page, shamrock tracing pages, and Bingo dauber pages.
We’ve been having fun!

Some of the crafts are already completed and some will be done this week still – I will post an Art Exhibition post when we are done πŸ˜‰
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LΓ‘ FhΓ©ile PΓ‘draig sona duit!

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Groundhog Day & Chinese New Year

A few more crafts!

Feb. 2nd was Groundhog Day. A might be a bit young to grasp the whole concept of it, but we still talked about it… and I still prepared her a Groundhog Experiment πŸ˜›Β  Every day between Feb. 2nd and March 21st, we’ll look outside in the morning to see what the weather is like, and put a sticker on the calendar chart: either sunny, snowy, or cloudy. There’s a spot for Weather on Feb. 2, and Prediction for Feb. 2-Mar. 21, which should be the opposite. We placed those stickers there. At the end, we’ll count how many suns, and how many clouds+snow, and see if the theory is right πŸ˜‰

I’m sure as heck hoping it is, Feb. 2 greeted us with the first major winter storm of the year. Which should mean a very nice & sunny last 6 weeks of winter! We had about 1 feet of snow, but with the wind, it accumulated much more than that – trust me, I shovelled the whole thing. The corridor in the backyard to go to our neighbour’s is at least 2 ft high. Bah! Miss A had a blast in the snow, in any case πŸ™‚

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We also did a simple Groundhog craft, found here. I printed the black & white version, and took out all of A’s brown/beige/grey/black crayons to colour it, and we glued it on a toilet paper roll. There’s a fun song to go with it too! (also found on the craft page)

(sign to I’m a Little Tea Pot)
I see a little groundhog, fury and brown
He’s popping up to look around
If he sees his shadow, down he’ll go
Six more weeks of winter – oh no!

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And Feb. 3 was the Chinese New Year – Year of the Rabbit. What’s better than making a paper rabbit? Combining it with Valentine’s Day and making a HEART bunny! πŸ˜›

That craft can be found here, along with many other heart animals.

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Valentine Day Games

I made Miss A some Valentine’s Day themed fun stuff!

Yesterday, we coloured some Valentine’s Day colouring page, as well as a Dauber Art heart (we used the red one, since it had more “white” space to colour in), which we laminated with a magnet & laminate roll (it laminates the top side and adds a magnet on the bottom), and cut into pieces to make a fridge puzzle! I also printed an already coloured and traced puzzle, which I also magnet-laminated, for another fridge puzzle. And we printed and made some fridge dominoes! Miss A had fun learning to match the pieces so only like pieces touch πŸ™‚

I also made her 2 file folder games: a heart matching game, and a Valentine Sudoku, like the one she had at Christmas (scroll down, down, down on the post).
Now, if you go and print the Sudoku, you’ll notice that 2 puzzle squares are the same, and there no where to put the lips… What I did is I reprinted the game, cut out one of the heart squares, and clued it on top of one the lips in the repeat puzzle squares πŸ˜‰ VoilΓ ! (it’s the heart on the top left in the picture).

For Friday, I’m planning a family Bingo night – I printed up some customizable Bingo cards from this site on cardstock, and double-sided laminated them for durability. You can also get Bingo pieces here – I made the summer ones for the Christmas Bingo cards (I know – summer & Christmas, but I liked the sun design!), though I have half a mind to make some heart ones πŸ˜‰ Alternatively, you could also use washable daubers on the laminated plastic – I never tried it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work..? If it’s washable, it should come offΒ  ^_^Β  *disclaimer – I am not responsible for your stained Bingo cards if it doesn’t work. Just, well, print another one… :)*

I’m thinking of printing a few of the activities found on this page too: like the Heart Size Sorting (she has a file folder with ant sorting and she LOVES it), the Heart Pattern matching game (variation on the heart one I made already), the pre-writing skills pack, which you can laminate and use with wipe-off markers (no idea if she’s at this stage yet of following the lines – we can find out! Worst case scenario? They become freestyle drawing pages), heart & V dauber/magnet page (we have magnets, but we’ll probably daub it), ditto the V dauber page, & the hopscotch game (she’s really into her numbers lately!)

We also stopped by the library and picked up some reading material:

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Let the love begin!
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More Games!

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I made A some more file folder games:

There’s the Christmas Tree Match, where she needs to match the shapes of the ornaments.

Then there’s the Gingerbread Button Match, which is similar, except she matches the buttons of the gingerbread man.

And finally there’s the Snowman Colour Match, where she matched the colours of the snowman’s scarves and hat band.

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I think that A quite enjoyed them!


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Advent Update

What a week! Between a Mommy cold, a newborn growth spurt, and a toddler cold, it’s been a bit busy. Some of our activities got behind (we still need to do the popcorn garland – probably tomorrow), and so did my blogging!

A bit of a recap of the last few days:
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Bible Verses/Symbols
As always, they are from Living the Life Abundant’s excellent Advent post:

  • Day 7: Family Photo – Because we are all part of God’s family.
  • Day 8: JOY Ornament – Because our joy comes from the Lord.
  • Day 9: Compast – Because Jesus came to show us the way to the Father.~ We started placing items on our felt Nativity scene today: first up, the moon.
  • Day 10: Alpha & Omega Ornaments – Because God is the beginning and the end (I think A’s Greek is not up to speed on these terms though :P)~ Today’s felt item is a star (regular star).
  • Day 11: Lamb – Because Jesus’ is God’s lamb. ~ Today we placed or first animal: a lamb! Gee, I wonder why πŸ˜‰
  • Day 12: Door – Because Jesus is the door to salvation. ~ Another regular star goes up today!

And of course, we placed our daily foam tree ornaments too. Looking good!

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On the 7th, we went to the library as planned to get some Christmas books. I tried to get a mix of French and English books, and I would have liked a bit more choice in Christian books, but they were mostly secular. Oh well.

We added to them some books we already had at home (I have 3 more that I forgot to include in the picture, but you can see them in the next pic on the top shelf – the green one is an Usborne touch book, “Where’s My Santa?”).

And now she has a nice setting with books in the drawer, and on top! We will try to read 1 or 2 daily. πŸ™‚

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The 7th was also when we took out the little Christmas Story booklet I made, from text found on this site. It’s basically Luke’s Christmas Story, slightly adapted for children. I added a few colouring pages and the Hail Mary.

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I did bake Christmas cookies for the exchange on the 10th, but I ended up doing them on the 9th, in the evening, without Miss A – or rather, my husband did the baking part, I did the spoon dumping part… We were playing tag between the kids… We made haystack cookies!

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On the 10th, I took out the Christmas Story colouring booklet I made A – I googled images representing parts of the Christmas Story, and inserted some text to explain the images. A colours in it every now and then! And I try to explain to her what she is colouring as she does so.

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We unfortunately had to skip the Advent party at our friend’s house on the 11th because of Miss A’s fever and coughing. Boo! But, we did manage to go out for a little bit and get some Christmas shopping done πŸ˜‰

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And today, everyone is feeling better! Except the weather, boy was it dreadful out there! We nonetheless did go out, and went to our appointment for our yearly family picture. I’m happy to say that this time A didn’t freak out as soon as we got to the studio, and even though she didn’t smile, we got her to sit for the pictures πŸ˜‰Β  A huge improvement. πŸ˜‰ Miss C was quite happy to pose for the camera too.

Our appointment was at 9:20 and we were done by 9:40, with plenty of time to get to the Church service at 10, so we did that. After the service, I rented out 2 VeggieTales videos for Miss A from the Church’s library: the 3 stories in one (Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Dave and the Giant Pickle, and Esther: The Girl who Became Queen), and The Toy That Saved Christmas. She enjoyed them. πŸ™‚ All the other Christmas ones were out (or so I assume they had some of the other Christmas ones), the one I got is a good old VHS hah! A was a bit confused by the format? lol!!

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And that’s where we are!