Thursday, December 5, 2013

Deck the Halls Movie Themed Day

 We started our day off right today!  I made a cinnamon bun tree for breakfast.  The boys were thrilled to wake up to the smells of cinnamon and frosting. 


While they sat and ate I started working on the gingerbread house we'd be decorating today.  Since no one in this house actually likes gingerbread we made our house out of graham crackers.  We learned this little trick last year at our library's gingerbread house making night (which we couldn't make this year!) and, for us, it's perfect.  We get the look of a gingerbread house without all the baking and cutting.  I had planned to set the house aside for later in the afternoon but the boys saw me getting it all ready and couldn't wait to dig in and get started.

 9:00 am found the boys on a sugar high from sampling the different candies and licking their fingers (even though they had to stop what they were doing and clean them every single time they just couldn't seem to stop licking the frosting off of them).  The boys worked cooperatively and made an amazing house.  We added trees (decorated sugar cones), walkways and a yard to the house as well.  By the time we finished we had very few candies left and a house (that Alec referred to as a town hall) full of reindeer!  They dubbed their creation the reindeer house and set up an animal hospital in the side yard.  It was adorable!

all our supplies

working together on our house

The finished building (this is the front door)

Our back door of the house

We finally settled down to start on math.  The older two boys had a fun worksheet that was also a craft.  We cut out green trees and brown trunks from construction paper and then they colored and cut out ball ornaments with multiplication problems on them.  They glued just the top of the ornament to the tree and wrote the answer to each problem under the ornament so it made a little lift the flap tree of multiplication facts.  The printout had more complicated multiplication facts and some division facts too but I only had them work on the basic facts. 

hard at work
Evan  had a Christmas tree addition sheet.  Each problem had a blank tree above it and he got to dot colored balls onto the tree and then count them up.  He thought it was both easy and fun.

the completed projects

We then sat down to read a couple of stories and work on some writing. 

We found two new books at the library that we wanted to read (well, new to us anyway).  We read The Little Fir Tree and Christmas Tree Memories.  I LOVED these heart warming stories. 

The Little Fir Tree was about a small tree that a father dug up, brought to their Christmas celebration, and then replanted every year.  The tradition and memory grew as the father's son grew. 

Christmas Tree Memories is about one family's Christmas Eve tradition to sit around the tree and tell stories/memories about all of the ornaments on the tree.  We have memories and stories about many of our ornaments too, but we share those as we unpack them and decorate our tree so, for us, this story was particularly relevant. 

As a follow up to our reading the boys wrote a quick little guide on How to Decorate a Christmas Tree.  I love that Ian added putting your name on all your ornaments since this is something we do for the boys.  Every year they get new ornaments as gifts and we label them with their name and the year they got them so they can look back and remember.  I don't think that is a typical step for most people when decorating their tree though!


After writing we got nice and messy again. 

We painted trees using toilet paper roll halves and our fingers.  I found this cute idea here and once the boys heard the words "finger paint" they were all in! Basically we used the toilet paper rolls as a half- circle stamp and just dabbed the paint on in an up and down motion keeping a triangle of paint in mind as we stamped. 



all finished
Once they were all happy with their tree shape we set them aside to dry and went on to our gift of the day.  We went back and forth between our painting and our gift craft for the day.  It seemed the most expedient way to wait out the drying times.  Once the trees were dry they used their fingers to add balls, a star and a trunk.  It was a quick (though very messy!) project that they really enjoyed.

Our gift project for the day was egg carton tree ornaments.  I figured since we already had the green paint out anyway we might as well use it up.  I cut an egg carton into three sections and the boys painted the bottom of the carton sections completely green.  Once the egg cartons were dry we decorated them and set them aside a second time to dry.

I gave them the choice to use pompoms, glitter, stickers, paint or even our sticky gems from our snowflakes we made the other day.  They all decided to use some finger paint and some glitter glue.   Once dry, we'll cut them apart so they'll each have four, bell shaped, green sections of egg carton.  Then we'll threaded them onto ribbons following the directions on the blog linked above.  



adding glitter glue decorations


Painting them all green


Updated: The finished trees 
We watched Deck the Halls today for our fun movie afternoon. 

We had never watched this particular movie but it looked funny and I thought the boys would enjoy it (and they did). 

To go along with our movie we made Reese's Trees.  They were very simple and after our looong morning of crafts and mess I needed something quick and easy to make!  Using a mini Reece's peanut butter cup for the trunk we used frosting to glue a large Reece's, another mini Reece's and finally a Hershey's kiss-- voila! and edible tree.  Yum!

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