Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Pony Party

After much deliberating between an Under the Sea birthday, a Fairy Princess birthday, and a Pony birthday, Ali finally chose to have a pony birthday.  I took a pic of her with her two favorite pony toys and made photo invites when Money Saving Mom posted a 20 free photo cards for $1.50 shipping deal.  Ali invited 17 little girls from church because she didn't want anyone to feel left out. 

Ali loved helping me assemble the party favors.  I was trying to steer away from too much sugar or the junky little plastic toys that break.  So, I bought about 7 packages of hair ties from Family Dollar and divided them up so each girl got a nice mix of pony tail holders.  I got Pony fruitsnacks on a super deal with a coupon for 50 cents a box.  My mom found these little Valentine cups at the Dollar store.  We put each cup in a clear plastic party bag and tied it with yarn.  So it only cost me about $12 total for 14 cute and practical favors!

I didn't do a lot of "pony decor" but Ali did want some pink streamers.  She colored a pony picture for the door, on which I wrote, "Welcome to Ponyland."  I bought a bouquet of beautiful flowers since they were very cheap on post-V-Day sale and they really brightened up the room.

I tried to draw a giant horse for Pin the Tail on the Pony but alas, my drawing skills are deteriorating every year.  I couldn't get it to look like a real pony so I just used a page from Ali's coloring book and made tiny tails for the girls.

Ali enjoyed the Jessie and Bullseye cake topper I purchased online last year and wanted a pony one this year.  I gladly agreed since they are sooo easy and much cheaper than purchasing a fancy storebought cake.  I could have tried to make a pony-shaped cake, but I just wasn't that ambitious this year!  The sugar-paper cake topper was $11 with shipping.

We played "Pass the Pony" which is like Hot Potato only we used one of the girls' stuffed ponies.
All of the girls were instructed to bring their favorite pony to the party to play with.  We also had a "Pony Race" with all of the girls and their ponies. 

The girls colored pony pictures and drew their own designs on the horses and named them.
They took a lot of time and care with their coloring.  I can't believe how much quieter 11 little girls are compared to my 2 wild boys!

I pulled out lots of the craft stuff from my Aunt and we made pony bead bracelets for another activity!  They did a great job!

My mom bought Ali a Color-Me-Playhouse which was a HUGE hit with all the little girls.  They happily colored on for over an hour while Ali gave orders on which colors she wanted and what she wanted different girls to do.  Grammy thought it would keep our girl busy for a long time, but the entire house was colored in just 48 hours!  Katri even grabbed a marker and was trying to color on it to copy the girls!

Grammy brought this funny Valentine thing to the party just for fun so I took each girl's pic in it.

Because some of the girls' moms like to avoid sugar, I made a punch with all fruit juice and club soda and ice and lemon slices.  However, the girls didn't like it as much as I did!  I did a simple fruit tray with bananas and apples and strawberry yogurt fruit dip, and we had pretzels as well as cake and ice-cream.  I considered a pinata because there were some cute My Little Pony pinatas online, but I felt we had enough activities and didn't want to bring more sugar into the party.

A side note:  Aren't the new My Little Ponies extremely creepy with their enormous, weird-looking eyes?  I loved My Little Ponies as a girl and had lots of them and am thrilled that my daughters can enjoy the same toys I loved, but I hate the new style!  I try to buy vintage on ebay if I can or avoid the name-brand ponies and go with a generic brand that look more like the old ponies.  The new kind just freak me out and look soooo strange!  I was glad the ponies in the cake topper look like the old kind and not the new kind!

Ali was very happy with her party and it didn't break the bank!
Invites:  $1.50 (hand-delivered)
Food/Cups/Plates:  $25
Favors:  $12
Decorations:  $6
Craft Supplies:  $0
(thanks to my Aunt giving me her craft stash)

Total cost of the Pony Party:

Dramatic De-Cluttering

Our Pray and Play group is going through the book The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson.  It is an excellent book and we've all been very inspired by it.  Last week's lesson was on "home keeping" and I challenged the ladies to de-clutter a hot spot in their home and post pics on the group's facebook page. The challenge was the motivation I needed myself to get one particularly awful area of my bedroom cleaned up.  For months, it has been a dumping ground for craft supplies.  My Aunt cleaned out all of her craft stuff in the fall and gave us 5 huge tubs of craft supplies and stuff.  She was worried about becoming a hoarder (she's not even close!) and the funny thing was once I piled all the craft stuff in my bedroom I began to feel like a hoarder! 

Before Pics:

I sorted the craft stuff 3 or 4 different times and I can finally say that we've pared it down to what we will use throughout the years and what is manageable.  I put the many scrapbooking stickers in my scrapbooking box, several things went to the homeschool closet, and a couple of apple boxes full went to the Christian school my mom teaches at for art supplies.  I've shared LOTS with friends and Ali has had craft supplies to delight her ever-creative heart to no end!  I got rid of a huge garbage bag of trash, 1 bag of stuff to donate to the thrift store, and a big box of fabrics to give away that I don't want.  It feels so good to de-clutter!

Here are the results in my craft wing of my bedroom:

Ugly curtains...I know...but the only ones we could find in this town for 8 foot windows!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Alathia Joy is 7!

On Feb. 18th our little Ali turned 7!

Birthday Morning

Twirling in a new birthday skirt from Auntie Kianna

We went on a Mother/Daughter date with my mom a week after her birthday to a Tea Party hosted by my mom's church

Ali has grown from a wild little toddler into a very nice young lady.  She helps me out so much, even without being asked, and is always making lovely cards and drawings for us.  I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for this sweet girl!

(I'll post about her pony birthday party tomorrow!)

My Father's World--The Letter H (Horse)

If you're getting tired of me beginning every week's homeschool update with a report on how someone in the family has been sick, know that I'm just as sick of sickness reports too!  I wish the kids would stop getting sick!  My friend Nicci taught me to make my own elderberry tincture so when it's done in a few weeks I will have a good immune booster/cold fighter on hand.
The girls took turns having stomach flu during horse week but we still were able to enjoy some horseback riding and thankfully Ali was healthy again in time for her big "Pony Birthday" the weekend after horse week.

Jer thought riding Boppa's horses was the best thing ever!  He declared it "funner" than snowmobiling, one of his favorite activities!

Ali was a bit timid around the horse and Justus was just plain scared so Jer did most of the brushing and riding.  I didn't get any pics of when Ali rode the horse.

Grandpa saddled Banjo up for us and I led the kids around the pasture.  It was great exercise for me for an hour!

Banjo is a huge horse; a Percheron/Quarter Horse mix.

It was cool to have my camera on hand when Crockett and Rico had a fight.
They are full-blooded brothers (Morgan/Percheron) and they are constantly at each other.
Now I know where the term "horseplay" came from. 
They fight just as much, if not more, than my own boys!

Ali got a unicorn pillow pet for her birthday, which kind of fit in with the horse theme!

We played "Pin the tail on the pony" and had a pony race at the party

She got a couple of new pony/horse toys for her birthday

We had horse snacks!  Mini-wheats, apples, and alfalfa/carrot smoothies!

For their binder pages they glued photographs of horses that I had taken onto their binder sheets.  We talked a lot about obedience because our key words were "I obey right away."  I think this was the week when the key words were most quoted by Mom to the kids!  =)

The kids enjoyed learning the song "Trust and Obey" and we enjoyed many books from the library about horses.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Homeschool Book

A few weeks ago I saw a photo book deal posted on Money Saving Mom and so I decided to jump on it and make a photo book with all of the My Father's World Kindergarten key words.
This makes it simple to sit down and review the letters and the key words on a regular basis.

Since there was a $30 off coupon code, I only had to pay shipping, which was $9.

I've made many photo books in recent years, using whichever company happens to have a great deal, so I've seen lots of styles and a variety regarding quality. 
Paper Coterie, which is where I made this book, has the BEST QUALITY I've ever seen thus far! 
I'm not in any way getting paid or rewarded for posting this;  I just wanted to share this with all of my friends so that you know if you want TOP-NOTCH, crystal-clear photos and quality paper, this is a great company to try!  I am continually amazed at the quality of this book every time I read this to the kids.  It's made me willing to pay a little extra to get any future photo books here rather than settle for the cheap books that have grainy photos and thin paper and distorted color.

Thanks to our many trips to the zoo in recent years, I had lots of animal photos to choose from.  There were a few things I didn't have pics of, so I used some free stock images from online for those things (quail, fox, etc.)

My friend Amanda took this awesome photo of zebras when she went to South Africa last summer. 
I liked that the photo book program allowed me to move the letters around and put text in various fonts and formats anywhere on the page.

So, if you want something extra special for your spouse, grandma, mom, dad, or kids, keep your eyes open for sales and discounts at this site!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Father's World--The Letter C (Cow)

Last week we studied the letter  C and cows.  The theme was "God's Word helps me grow."

  It "just so happened" that we got to see a lot of cows when I took Ali to her friend's birthday party.  Her friend lives on a ranch.

C is for Cowboy.  You'll find lots of these in our state!  Our friend Justin saddled up Silver, his kids' little horse (which he got them for Christmas) and gave the girls pony rides.

I missed this calf's birth by about 3 minutes!  It was still amazing to see the mother tenderly care for her baby and push him to try to walk.  Poor little guy, coming from a warm womb onto the icy, snowy ground!

It sure seems like animals are proud of their babies and loving towards them!

First faceplant....poor little guy!

An hour later, the baby calf is standing and nursing!

C is for chicken!
  We went to a friend's home to see her goats, rabbits, sheep, cows, and chickens.  The boys were excited to be able to collect eggs in the hen house.  They brought home a dozen and we had them for supper!  (Though a dozen doesn't cut it for my enormous eaters!  The 4 of them polished off 16 eggs, plus side dishes!)

We made butter by pouring cream into containers with 3 clean marbles in each container and jumping up and down and shaking them.  Justus, whom we call "Jumping Bean" loved this activity!  We did it in teams of two and switched off with our partners.  It was nearly butter after 20 minutes, but we were worn out so we beat it with an electric mixer for a minute or two to make it into the final, solid consistency.

Homemade butter calls for homemade rolls!  It was delicious!

Katri thought so!  She was licking the butter off of her bun!

Justus said all of the sticker animals on his binder page were chasing each other around the page.

C is for cute!  This little girl sure is coddled by everyone in our family!

And she's also a copycat!  She wants to do everything Ali does.  She constantly steals her sister's purse, calculator, flashlight, schoolbooks, etc. because she's so fascinated by what Ali's doing.  Here she looks to see if sister noticed that she is getting into Ali's tea party set-up.

We also watched the cookie monster song, "C is for Cookie" on youtube and made Daddy's favorite sugar cookies together.  We couldn't find the book the curriculum suggested at our library, so we found it in movie format and watched it and talked about it.

We talked about words that begin with C and foods we enjoy that are made with cow's milk.  We also had lots of celery since we got 4 or 5 stalks in our Bountiful Basket!

We finished up the Primer math video with Math-U-See so this week Ali will start on Alpha.
We finished up our read-aloud we've been reading since early January.  The kids LOVED this book and I have to confess that I did too and had more than a few moments where I could hardly read aloud due to tears!  I highly recommend this book!

We also joined my mom's class from the Christian School and passed out Valentines to the local nursing home residents.  It's always such a blessing to do that and see how much the residents love interacting with little kids!  One lady said, "It's been a long, long time since I've had a Valentine." 
Once a month my mom's school has hot lunch so we also joined them for Pizza Hut pizza and Valentine cookies after the nursing home trip.

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