An Easy and Mess Free Autumn Window Craft.

I have bit of a love affair with contact paper.  Not only does it act as laminator in a pinch but it's also  great for mess free (no glue and paint) crafts. A couple weeks ago, when I still under weather, the kids used it to decorate one of our windows. 

Supplies - contact paper, masking tape, paper dollies or tissue paper.

Step 1 - tape contact paper (sticky side out) to window. I learned that peeling around the corners/edges and taping those first is easier than trying to tape the contact paper once it's all been peeled. 

Step 2 - add your dollies

And that is it - now you have a fun colorful window! Ours has been up for almost two weeks now and has held up really well. 

If you are looking for a few more contact paper craft ideas, here's a some other ways we've put it to use: Snow Bear Resist Painting,  Look-a-Like Stained Glass, and Paint chip hearts

What is your favorite way to use contact paper? 

Literature Based Kindergarten Curriculum, Johnny Appleseed.

Primary Literature

  • Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg. This biography briefly covers Johnny Chapman's life from his birth to his death. The prose appeals to young listeners and is easy for them to follow along. The whimsical and colorful illustrations are also captivating.

  • Vocabulary words to review.
    • tall tale -  an exaggeration of a story, has unbelievable elements
    • tranquil - quiet and calm
    • boisterous - noisy and rowdy
    • cellar - a room below the ground
    • orchard - land where fruit trees grow
    • frontier - the edge of settled land/undiscovered

Complementary Literature 
  • The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons, tells tale of a young boy and the adventures he has with his apple tree. It offers a kid friendly explanation of what happens to an apple tree during the different seasons. 
  • Apples also by Gail Gibbons, explains in kid friendly terms the parts and life cycle of an apple. It also offers a brief history, shows different varieties, and uses of an apple
  • The Apple Pie that Papa Baked - A play off the song The House that Jack Built. This cute repetitive story is a delight to read and listen too. Even though this book is newer (2007) the illustrations remind me of classic children’s books, like those by Virginia Lee Burton; they are filled with detail but yet there is something simplistic about them. 

Other Complementary Materials
  • American Legends: Johnny Appleseed,  This animated tale from Disney focus more on the legend than fact, but it was very enjoyable to watch. It also spoke to the spirit of why Johnny Appleseed became such a popular tale. 
  • Wholesome Heros with Rick Sowash: Johnny Appleseed, I found this film to be a little dull and corny at some points but my children, however, seemed to enjoy it. It was very factual and offered explanations on why/how Johnny Chapman became such a tall tale. 

Learning Activities/Games

Literature Based Kindergarten Curriculum, "The Greedy Triangle"

I'm really behind on posting our kindergarten books. As I mentioned before, I've been battling a virus. I think I've finally got it beat but for the last couple of weeks I've had nothing left to give after the kids go to bed. Hopefully, this week I can get caught up.

Primary Literature:  
  • Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns. I like that this book includes a story and not just a bunch of facts about shapes. I wouldn't necessarily call the triangle greedy, just discontent as he gets bored easily and starts to think that other shapes are more important.  Unsatisfied with the jobs of a triangle he asks a shaper shifter to make him a quadrilateral. He quickly becomes bored with those roles too, and continues to ask for more and more sides. At the end, however, he discovers he's much happier as a triangle and asks to be turned back. 

  • Vocabulary words to review
    • dissatisfied - unhappiness
    • angle - when the ends of lines meet
    • quadrilateral - shape with four sides and four angles
    • pentagon - shape with five sides and five angles
    • hexagon - shape with six sides and six angles
    • octagon - shape with eight sides and eight angles

Complementary Literature
  • When a Line Bends a Shape Beginsclever colorful pictures and simple rhyming text make this  book a joy to read. 
  • Mouse Shapes, this book tells the tale of how three clever mice use shapes to trick a cat.
  • The Shape of Things, a simple book that brings shapes together to form everyday objects like houses, trains, and ships. 

Other Complementary Materials: 

Learning Activities/Games: 

  • Shape sorting game: this is a game we created for Big Buddy several years back. The cards are pictures of everyday objects with one shape highlighted. The children sort them by square, rectangle, and triangle. 

  • Matchstick shape building: I've made the printable (for free) available here

Small Graces

I meant to publish this post on Sunday but I've been struggling with a cold the last couple of days. I kept feeling like I'd finally beaten it then all of a sudden it would come back to wipe me out again. I'm not very good at's hard to rest with three kids. I have, however, been trying to go bed early which means no time for blogging. Last week was a busy week, which probably had a lot to do with this lingering illness, but it was also such a good week! We went to a local amusement park and an apple orchard as a family.  Then Jeremy and I got a little date when we attended the wedding of some friends.

One of our neighbors works at Santa's Village Azoosment Park and gave us her September family pass. It's an interesting place because it's part zoo, part kiddie amusement park, but I'll post more about the trip at a later time. Everyone had a blast. One of of highlights was Mini Man riding this race car ride. For almost a year now he's insisted, "I'm going to be a race car driver when I grow up, who fishes when I'm not working". 

By accident we ended up checking out an orchard close to our home and we were so glad we did! It was the perfect, simple little place and we had such a great time. You can read more about our trip, here

The wedding we attended was for a young couple we serve with at church. It was a such a privilege to be a part of their day. They both have such generous hearts for the Lord that we know God will use them and their marriage to do great things.

The also threw a great party...DIY carmel apples!

Plus it was a chance to hang with several of our friends...without the kiddos. 

A couple other things that have also made me smile...Little Lady is taking her first ballet class and it is one of the cutest things I have ever seen. She is so serious! 

We've never really been co-sleepers but since he could walk Mini Man has found his way into our bed when he was scared, sick, or just needed some extra love. He wasn't feeling the best last week and asked to sleep with us - I'm going to be so sad when these days end. 

While making supper the other night, as usual, all the kids crowded into our tiny galley kitchen. This time, however, the boys were actually quite helpful. 

One of many things that first attracted me to Jeremy was his love for books. Now when I see him share his favorite stories with out children my heart melts all over again....even if they do fall asleep during the reading. 

he's currently reading the third book in The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

These blocks are suppose to spell out 'Happy Harvest' on our bookshelf but this makes me happy too. 

This post is part of an almost weekly series inspired in part by Bob Bennett's song "Small Graces".

"these are the small graces, the little moments when the miracles come...
they are a reminder to the heart there is more to life than meets the eye...
He is in the small graces....
small graces pointing me to the larger one...
little glimpses of the kingdom come..."
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