Sunday, June 26, 2011

End of the Alphabet Path Party an Alphabet Path Party!

We finished up the Alphabet Path for Kindergarten in early May, and at the end of Z week, we had a party to celebrate and to remember our trip down the path! Caroline recited some of her poems she has memorized throughout the year, and we prepared some celebratory snacks!

The girls helped to dip pretzel rods into melted white chocolate chips and then sprinkle them in pastel colors to make fairy wands! We did this the day before the party.

Licking the bowl was apparently the best part!

They helped me make frosting for our alphabet cupcakes... they were really a pumpkin cake recipe from the King Arthur whole grain baking cookbook, and topped with a ginger cream cheese frosting, they were scrumptious!

Here's our table, all set for the party! We had a parade of saints, a parade of flower fairies, and a parade of alphabet cupcakes! The girls helped to tear streamers for us to hang in the doorway, and we had left the streamers on the chairs from one of our garden parties a few weeks back.

I made little party favor bags for the girls with some items I found at the craft store in the dollar bins! Technically, this was a birthday party, since the last story of the Alphabet Path is about the main character, Michael, taking a bouquet of flowers (which he collected as he met the flower fairies) to his mother for her birthday. The flower fairies have a parade with him back to his house to surprise his mother. So this was like a role-playing of her birthday party.

The fairy wands

The alphabet cupcakes were done in some pretty floral cupcake liners that I also found at the craft store! I frosted a letter on each cupcake in pink or green frosting. U and V shared a cupcake, as did X and Y, so a batch of 24 cupcakes was just perfect!

The first 13 letters fit on our cupcake stand, and the rest spilled off to the side in a parade of cupcakes!

The girls opened up their party favor bags first...

They found fairy notecards, fairy stamps, and wooden fairy figurines to color. As you can see, they dressed up in fancy dress-up clothes for the party!

They wanted to color the fairies right away! I had also included some stick-on jewels they used to decorate them. I finished setting up the snacks while they worked.

Here are some of the saints and fairies on parade... I made them face both directions so that everyone at the table could see some of them. I had been painting the saints all along throughout the year, and the fairies were made like this: I found the images online and pasted them into a document. Then I printed them in high quality on cardstock, cut them out, and attached them to toothpicks. I stuck each toothpick in half of a cork so they would stand up. i knew that all those corks I gathered from my parents' house would come in handy for something! ;)

an aerial view

Here is Caroline's wooden fairy figurine... the stick-on jewels made for a nice touch!

And then it was time to eat!!!

Yum! We also had apple juice mixed with a bit of Sierra Mist to make a "punch" and some red grapes.

Cecilia chooses a fairy wand

This was such a fun way to wrap up the year, and the Alphabet Path itself was a fun and gentle way to ease into homeschooling in this first year. I will be saving all these ideas so that Cecilia can walk the path when she is in Kindergarten, and again for baby #3! Caroline learned to work so well this first year, and her drawing and letter formation improved alongside her fine motor skills. And having taught herself to read right before we even started the Alphabet Path, I'd say she is well on her way to first grade!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Z is for St. Zita and Zinnia Fairy!

Z was our final week of the Alphabet Path - and I am finally getting around to posting photos, which means next, I will be able to post photos of our End of the Alphabet Path Party!!!

Above are out themes from the week, all of which went into the word box, as usual.

Our Y poems for the week from An Alphabet of Catholic Saints and God's Alphabet.

~Foods for Z Week~

We had zucchini and eggplant Casserole and baked ziti (which was really penne - shhh, don't tell!;)

~Circle Time~

Songs and Rhymes
Mama's Taking us to the Zoo Tomorrow

We also read a lot of different alphabet books, and we read books about the zoo this week. We considered going to the zoo... but the zoos are all so far away, and it was so hot this week!

~Letter Formation~

Playdough Z

writing Z's in cornmeal

Cut and Paste Z Collage

We continued doing Punch Out the Letter each week, but I didn't get photos of most of the letters towards the end of the alphabet!

~Flower Fairy for Letter Z: Zinnia~

Caroline's Zinnia flower fairy page from the Flower Fairies coloring book

~Saint for Letter X: St. Zita~

our painted St. Zita

Caroline does her St. Zita copywork

Finished X copywork from An Alphabet of Catholic Saints and illustration

~Picture Study: Z is for Zigzag~

Caroline drew her own version of Yatsuhashi (The Bridge of Eight Parts) in Mikawa by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. The bridge is certainly an example of a zigzag!

~ABC Virtue of the Week: Zeal~

My drawing for zeal shows a boy reading the Bible and having other various Catholic resources next to him on the bench, and he is thinking about how this is preparing him for his First Holy Communion. I decided that zeal is a hard virtue to illustrate, particularly for a child! I could have drawn a missionary, but that would have been an adult... so this was the best i could come up with!

I was asked if I could make these drawing available, so I have uploaded them to Google Docs. I also discovered that the originals which I had been using (and had run out at letter O) have actually been updated, and P-T can be found here. My drawings, P-Z (excluding X), can be found here:

And more on zeal...

Caroline's copywork from
God's Alphabet - the last poem in the book!

~Movement Activity~

Z is for zigzag!! I taped this pathway on the floor and the girls followed it by traveling in different ways and at different speeds.

Hope to post our end of the year party pictures soon! Also, we did make zucchini bread for our Z cooking project, and if I can find those photos I will add them later!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Pentecost!

AS we have done in years past, we hung up our doves above the dining room table. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, which came to the apostles at Pentecost!

The girls made a windsock this year... red is the liturgical color, so the body of windsock is red. The streamers are yellow with orange tips, symbolizing the tongues of fire which came to rest above the heads of the apostles and Mary. We used the flames shared at Shower of Roses - thanks, Jessica!

Caroline cut out the flames, which had the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit printed on them. Cecilia drew a picture on the windsock... you can sort of see that she drew Mary in blue and a huge dove (on top of Mary) in white.

Caroline also drew this picture. She and Cecilia were pretending to be the apostle John and Mary. They even cut out "tongues of fire" from orange paper and taped them to their foreheads! :)


Pentecost is also known as "Whitsunday," meaning "white Sunday." So I made a special white drink, homemade vanilla steamers... like Starbucks sells for a few bucks apiece, but easily made at home! I also considered making white hot chocolate... mmm, the Paula Dean recipe I found for that was made with four cups of heavy cream (as I expected it would be ;)!

The girls drank them out of our white china teacups!


Our centerpieces: a red candle with yellow dove shapes on it (made from a beeswax candle kit), a few Holy Spirit holy cards, and our paschal candle, lit for the last day of the Easter Season! I suppose we will bring it back out to light when we celebrate Baby 3's baptism, since the paschal candle at church will be lit then in order to light the baptismal candles.

We set the table with our red tablecloth.

Our salad had bell pepper "tongues of fire" in it!

We also had a 12 fruit salad, to represent the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit. I think there were actually only 10 or 11 fruits... shh, don't tell! ;)

Our doves, soaring above the celebration

I gave the girls tiny red pinwheels to blow... on Pentecost, there was a sound of a mighty rushing wind (which is the reason for the windsock as well).

Here are our cupcakes... we have done this for three years now, and I don't think Caroline would stand for anything different, as it has become a favorite tradition! I first saw this idea on By Sun and Candlelight... the 13 cupcakes represent Mary and the 12 apostles (Mary being the one with blue sprinkles!). The lit candles on each cupcake represent the tongues of fire above each one. They also remind us that Pentecost is a birthday - the birthday of the Church!

So, we sing "Happy Birthday" to the Church...

...and blow out the candles!

These were chocolate chip cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting... yum! They are a recipe in the Deceptively Delicious cookbook - made with pureed yellow squash and pumpkin! Cecilia actually eats most of the cupcake and not just the frosting off th top of these, ha ha!

We finished our Garden of the Good Shepherd Easter calendar! We passed on the Garden Party this week since we were already having our Pentecost celebration. The girls enjoyed the Easter season and will be sad to go back to Ordinary Time, but it will be a nice change for everyone!