Monday, November 28, 2016

H is for Hearts and Hadassah

This week happened to be the week before Hadassah's birthday (which was on a Saturday). Pretty perfect to be studying the letter that fit for some focus on her! :D

 H is for an "H" snack. When the girlie asks for one and you don't have anything special planned, you make one out of whatever you were going to give her anyway. And she loves it! ;)

 H is for hands. Sometimes I use youtube to get a quick chore done. At least it was an active song which is always good for this energetic miss. And with it's simple words and actions, doing things slowly and then quickly (clapping, shaking, wiggling, etc.) it was a fun thing for me to use later with our little group of children at bible study.

 H is for Hide and Seek! It didn't take Ellie long to learn she was supposed to go find her favorite sister. :) It's what she does all day after all, trying to go wherever Hadassah goes! ;)

 We even got her to take a turn hiding. Oh how I love watching little ones grow!

 H is for Hugs. I can't even remember what prompted this particular one, but it always warms my heart to see sister hug. And Dassah has gotten better at not squeezing too tight... The height of the girls means Ellie gets almost strangled every time, but as long as Dassah doesn't squeeze too tight she doesn't mind. ;)

 H is for Highlighter. Sometimes it's the simplest things... Hadassah was curious about the highlighter, seeing me mark off things on our daily list for preschool with it. She wanted to highlight words too. And thus it began. This picture was taken a month ago. Since that day, nearly every day she has asked for something to highlight. Old church bulletins are her favorite. And it keeps her quite occupied, singing praise songs to God while she does or it, or reciting over and over (and over!) John 3:16. We've finally wised up and started collecting bulletins people leave on Sundays, because they are great time fillers that she really enjoys to highlight them! ;)

 H is for Hats. This was a fun freebie from Teachers Pay Teachers. Dassah really enjoyed matching the fun lower case hats to the uppercase penguin. She has gotten very particular about doing things like this starting from a and proceeding through the alphabet instead of just matching whichever hat she happens to pick up. Can be good and bad, but neat to see her really grasp the alphabet as a whole!

 H is for Houses of the Wise and Foolish - We read the story in Matthew about the man who built his house on the rock and the one who built it on the sand and acted it out a bit. Of course I had to make she only sprinkled the water on the rock, whereas we poured it straight from the bottle on the one on the sand...

 Because, yeah... if she poured it from the bottle on the one on the rock it also washed away completely. ;) You do what you can!

But she liked it so much she wanted to act it out again and again until we ran out of water! Of course we also had a Chinese mom and boy watching us almost the whole time, probably wondering what on earth we were doing!

 H is for Hearts. Cutting out different sizes in a variety of colors and then drawing hearts randomly on paper made a good activity for Bible study kids. They each took a glue stick and picked out the hearts they wanted and glued them down. Of course, it occupied all the children but my own. ;) Hadassah still isn't one for group/mostly solo activities...

H is for Heart Hunt! Having Hadassah's hearts left from the previous day meant I could use them the next day. I wrote sweet messages on them and hid them around the room for her to find.

 She really got into it then, and had the sweetest, awed smile as I read her the messages. She happened to be wearing a fitting heart shirt too!

 It was a good time to think of ways to encourage her. So much of motherhood is training and correcting and disciplining. It is always good for both of us to take time to focus on the positives.

H is for hearts on an H, a Hippo (who knew one could look so cute?) and a grassHopper! Okay, so the last one was just never done from G week so we did it this week. ;) Dassah is very into tracing letters these days - she enjoys that more than coloring.

H is for Hokey Pokey! Dassah actually followed along on most of the actions and Ellie got into it, dancing around herself and having a ball watching us. It's always fun for me to get up and move too!

 H is for Horsey Rides! The good ol' cross one leg over your knee and have them sit on your foot and bounce them up and down. Thankfully Hadassah helped by jumping up and down with her own legs too!

 Ellie absolutely loved it as well. The girls took turns until my legs couldn't take it anymore. ;)

 H is for Hadassah! It was fun to do a little "interview" of her. :) It will be fun to look back on her 3-year-old answers years from now. I have to say, though, she is highly influacable by what is around her. Take her favorite color: she almost always chooses purple things but just then she was coloring with a red marker, so I think that influenced her pick. ;) But the food is quite accurate. Youzi is a HUGE grapefruit type fruit that you peel in sections and eat. Dassah loves raw, grated zucchini, don't ask me why! And BiJiang Guangchang is the mall just 10 minutes taxi ride from us that has the best food we can find around here!

 H is for Heart biscuits. Biscuits just taste better in shapes when you're a little girl. ;)

 H is for Helper. It being birthday week, Thursday was the perfect day for Dassah to be my helper and make birthday cupcakes!

 H is for horse and our home! I love how Dassah drew each of us. Daddy had glasses, and each person got progressively smaller as she tried to fit them in the house. ;)

 H is for Heart lineup. Sensing a theme? There is just so many things you can do with hearts! Dassah did a good job lining up the numbers 1-10.

 H is for community Helper Bingo - This freebie makes for a fun game. Dassah has continued to ask to play it, so that makes it a winner!

 H is for Highlighting Hadassah. These days tracing anything is a win for her, and I like getting her familiar with how her name looks. :)

H is for Hiding Animals. I hid her stuffed animals around the room for her to find. Something about young ones means they love searching for things!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving across the Ocean

Thanksgiving. It's a holiday that for me always brings memories of lots of family all together. So I'll admit, it was hard when the day rolled around and it was like any other day. It's not a holiday in China. Ryan worked all day. I cooked traditional food in the afternoon, but I sorely missed the busyness and warmth of a big kitchen filled with my sisters - often 7 of us including my sis-in-laws! - and my mom.

But. But look what we have to be thankful for. I know I will always cherish these memories our little family made together.

 We planned a big Thanksgiving dinner with friends on Friday, since two of them had class on Thursday night. But I had to do something traditional, so made pasties. It happened to be the night I've been bringing dinner each week to a friend who had a baby earlier this month, but she also happens to be the friend who ALSO has pasties in her family tradition, so it was fun to make a big batch to share.

It was finger-lickin' good!

 Especially for this one, who recently discovered ketchup. ;)

 Our house was filled with warmth and joy as we all danced, yet again, to the song Christ is Risen! by Keith and Kristyn Getty. That song is sometimes on repeat and played nearly every day per Hadassah's request. Such a good dancing song though!

 We had to do a little turkey art too! This year we used paint, which Hadassah was pretty excited about. Had to cut it short when paint began to go in random places from her brush though - like the 6th "finger" she added to Ryan's turkey. ;)

Some friends came over to play games after kids were in bed. We enjoyed the Golden Ages until late while we smelled pumpkin pies baking. A great way to end Thanksgiving Day.

 On Friday I pulled out the candy corn mom had given us last year. Still good! I made it a preschool activity for Dassah to make letters on it. I told her she could eat one piece every time she finished a letter.

 It was a bit afraid she'd just start shoveling them in once she realized how tasty they were, but she was very obedient, and excited every time she finished a letter. I finally had to tell her we were all done - she would have made letters as long as I'd let her! ;)

 Ellie's napping less in the mornings these days, so we kept her happy in the swing while Dassah did a Thanksgiving "I spy" page. It's really fun all of the free learning printables you can find online these days!

 That afternoon I was busy baking again. I was very thankful I got to make my favorites (like this apple pie!) and not ALL of the Thanksgiving dishes. I wasn't feeling like hosting a huge party like we did our first year here, so I was grateful our two American friends in this apartment complex wanted to do something together.

 Did you know you can make the crispy onion topping for green bean casserole? That casserole SAYS Thanksgiving to me more than turkey even. So I paid top dollar to order some imported online. Only to find out they were out of stock a few days before Thanksgiving, when I checked to see why they hadn't shown up. I ordered another, but there wasn't enough time for them to arrive. So I looked up how to make them.

They're less complicated than you'd think... Soak in milk, roll in flour, and fry. Time consuming, but they tasted oh so good! This year's green bean casserole was the best I have to say. ;)

 An extra blessing was the girls waking up so happy and wanting to play together from their naps, as I was elbow deep in all the dishes I'd made while cooking the whole nap time! Dassah helped feed Ellie her yogurt, and then sweetly played with her without issues for over 30 minutes! Something to be extra thankful for!

 Homemade rolls with loads of Kerrygold butter was my other addition. Gotta take every excuse to make fluffy white rolls!

 Another friend hosted (which I was glad for!) and pulled out decorations and lovely dishes. What a feast we had!

 The kids had their own little table. Never would I have imagined when we moved here that my daughter would have such sweet, close friends.

 There were lots of smiles and laughter and amazing, delicious food. Everything tasted just how it should be, which is a lot to say sometimes when you live overseas and have to source things in a different country!

 And oh the desserts. Yum yummy yum. No easy access to the sprayable whipped cream meant I "had" to whip it myself. And oh how much better it tastes! ;) Another friend made a pumpkin cheesecake which was incredible!

We have been so blessed by these friends. It felt like we were with family. And really, they are like family. Our children call them Aunt and Uncle and all the kids act like cousins. We play together, serve together, pray together, and just live life. It's a blessing to be able to be real and grow together. So while I definitely missed family more than I thought I would, with it being our 3rd year overseas, God has provided immeasurably above and beyond what I thought possible here. We have so many reasons to be thankful.

Monday, November 21, 2016

G is for Gumballs and Grasshoppers

I am way behind - we are studying K this week and here I am finally posting about G. ;) But there are so many fun things I want to keep sharing, though it may happen slowly! A water accident on Friday didn't help matters, as we spent the weekend wondering if our laptop had died. But God answers prayer, and all things are working well now - so grateful! Oh - and there's a G word to start us off!

G is for gumball. Funny thing is she has never used a gumball machine or eaten one. But she caught on to the concept quickly (kids seem to have no trouble imagining candy!) and enjoyed filling the numbered gumball machines with pompoms.

G is for God Made Me. We have used this "My First Hymnal" (a gift from my mom) so so many times. I highly recommend it. First it reminded me of children's songs to sing to my new baby, then she got to where she wanted me to sing straight through it whenever we could, and now we focus on one song a week. She doesn't usually sing WITH my for some reason, but often later on I hear her singing the songs as she plays. Nothing like that sweet, young voice singing praise!

G is for God's Great Plan. We start each morning with "couch time" where we review our verse, songs for week, and read books that have the letter of the week in the title. I really enjoy cuddling up with my girl and she really enjoys being read to. This book was also a gift, and is such a good, rhyming explanation of the Gospel for kids.

G is for Garden. For many of the weeks I have a new, educational book. I found good deals on Usborne flap books, and she really enjoys them. This one was no exception. :)

G is for Giggles. She laughed so much as I painted her foot for the craft we were doing (not wanting to waste paint/have the mess of her stepping into a pile of paint). But she didn't ask me to stop!

G is for Grasshopper. This Pinterest idea was one of my favorite animal crafts so far. :)

G is for Game. This little one never passes up an opportunity to play Candy Land!

G is for Green Light! She's always enjoyed Red Light, Green Light but she really really enjoyed it when I made a simple sign to use with it! This one you can see is already crumpled (the baby-meister) so I made another out of felt that has held up much better. :)

Dassah wanted to take turns being "the sign-ner" and Ellie really got in to playing the game too, though I had to hold her hand to make sure she stopped at appropriate times. ;)

We did some play with them going together. But that mostly involved in Ellie just walking and laughing the entire time. ;) Whatever gets us moving inside especially on rainy days, I am a fan of!

G is for Giraffe. I made a simple one out of felt and then told her (as I did some kitchen chore) how many spots to put on it. I changed the numbers a few times, and then told her to put them all on and count them.

G is for Gingerbread - she enjoyed decorating the man with glitter and stickers!

But she even MORE enjoyed making real gingerbread! ;)

G is for "grr." ;) We call these her "bear tracers" and she asks for them at least once a week, sometimes once a day! It's an easy activity that occupies her, and she is getting pretty good drawing shapes as she traces them!

G is for glitter! We used it to decorate her big G, and then traced little gs in the stuff that of course) ended up all over the table. ;)

G is for Garden again. We livened up this book by reading through it and finding the corresponding bug from the garden felt I made for her a while ago. :)

G is for Gymnastics. We practiced some sumersaults and hand stands, and then while I prepped lunch one day I let her watch some random videos of children in a gymnastics class on youtube. She was inspired and went out on the rug to do all kinds of gymnastics. Again, anything to get her moving!

G is for gumballs - This one was a flop for her. Could have been the wrong time of day, but after 3, she didn't want to match any more colors to the gumdrops. Oh well. I think at another time she would have enjoyed it, so there's still the idea if anyone wants it!

G is for Grandparents. Hadassah loves her grandparents so SO much! So I had her draw a picture of her with them, one for each set. Her pictures turned out adorable! I love the detail she gives them. No arms yet, but she carefully gives them hair and ears and sometimes "cheeks." :)

G is for another Game. Her little friend and her were pretty good at memory!

And Red Light, Green Light is more fun with a little buddy your size. :)

G is for Grin. Hadassah kept wanting to give Ellie a turn with the sign too. She had the hugest grin of feeling so very important and she walked towards us waving the sign the whole way. ;)

G is for G crafts. Love the grandparents. The water colors were a time filler while I skyped my sister. :) And the giraffe, yes I colored it. ;) She wanted to trace the letters, but didn't want to color that day. I kept doing some thinking to get her interested, but finally just finished it for the fun of it myself. :)

It was a fun week! Now I am weeks and weeks behind on pictures, of preschool play and just life. But oh well. Better late than never. I enjoy looking back at what we did. :)