Tag Archive | A Journey Through Learning

Happy Year of the Rooster!

Chinese New Year is a holiday we have tried our best to celebrate for at least 5 or 6 years now. This is all thanks to the families of our two gorgeous god daughters (Anna and Isabella). Their moms are from the same city in China (Ghangzou) and have been kind enough to help us learn how to fully embrace this holiday. I love the changing date of the celebration based on the lunar calendar and it has come to mean more than the “traditional” North American New Years to me. We do a significant amount of preparation for this holiday, cleaning, researching and shopping for food, reading out favourite themed stories (The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine). This year it was Trinity’s turn to do a full on lapbook for the season. She worked really hard on it and it shows.IMG_20170128_134718_976

We finished up our day with take out from our favourite Chinese food restaurant – The Rose Garden.

I have worksheets to share:

  • Activity Village HERE
  • Education.com collection HERE and chicken collection HERE
  • Definitely make sure you search EnchantedLearning.com for their resources HERE

Books to suggest:

  • Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan! HERE
  • The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang (a new book for us!) by Andrea Wang HERE
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto HERE
  • Chinese New Year Crafts by Karen E. Bledsoe HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Grace Jones HERE
  • Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diana Hoyt-Goldsmith HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Ann Heinrichs HERE
  • Long-Long’s New Year by Catherine Gower HERE
  • The Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine HERE
  • Fortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin HERE
  • Red Butterfly by Deborah Noyes HERE
  • Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang HERE
  • Kai-Lan’s Great Trip to China HERE20170131_140611

And a few DVD’s for you to hunt down:

  • Celebrate With Kai-Lan! HERE
  • Stone Soup (a read-along) HERE

Of course there is the lapbook Trinity used! Currclick has it for 3.00 HERE. This is put out by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks.20170222_184327

20170222_18431020170222_184322And don’t forget our yearly video!

For our Chicken/Rooster research we had a couple books as well:

  • Chickens by Katie Dicker HERE
  • Young Chicken Farmers by Vickie Black HERE

I used this amazing designer to make this year’s Zodiac animal – the rooster. I used her last year to make a monkey as well (see my County Fair post from last here HERE). Her site is called All about Ami and you can find her rooster pattern HERE and the monkey HERE.IMG_20170128_134658_879

We also splurged this year and bought two dresses for the girls off of Amazon. They were not overly expensive and definitely not high quality, but so cute!IMG_20170128_134638_408

Of course we also picked up new shirts for the boys at Walmart. And buzzed the twins’ heads. New clothes and fresh haircuts in a clean house. And I mean CLEAN! We threw out, sorted, donated… you name it we got rid of excess. And it felt amazing. So Happy Chinese New Year All! Let’s hope the year of the Rooster is auspicious and prosperous!20170128_132722_HDR


The girls love to sort through their toys and find theme friendly pieces.

The girls love to sort through their toys and find theme friendly pieces.

The 1st Day of Advent

As we continue to attempt to declutter, organize and progress as a family I find myself often debating what to keep… do you keep every paper and piece of art? Choose the best of the bunch? Go random? Well, when I think about it… this blog IS my memory book. Every day I write down the mundane, the whimsical, educational, emotional… all the milestones are here, the art, the interest, the quirks and more… do you think my children will look back at some copy of this and sigh? Or maybe reminisce? More likely, with my bunch, they will shake their heads and wonder at the time mommy spent on this site… the insane focus on each and every step, the massive amount of photography… But I bet they WILL look back and I can say SEE you did this!! Now WHY am I thinking about this? Well on top of the above reasons I got an email last night that deals with keeping memories. You can check out the blog entry on the Confessions of a Homeschooler blog. She has a great free download for dealing with all the wonderful things you have around created by your children. For a schooling OR homeschooling family. 

Speaking (er typing) of milestones, today Echo did TWO shuffling steps! YAY! She was VERY unimpressed by it, would rather I had just swooped down and picked her up… BUT she did it! The twins were right there and saw it, I caught it out of the corner of my eye… and were very congratulatory. What wonderful big brothers she has. 

Standing on her own

Advent has begun here in the Reinsch-Johnson residence and we actually have quite a bit to do each day. We start with our regular calendar and a discussion about the day, then there is the I’ve been good chart that Santa WILL see, they have been told! After that our Perler Bead Advent countdown calendar that we add a shape to and then count the days left. Whew! And then this year the boys brought some items home from church. A little Advent calendar that you flip up a flap for each day and it has a verse and a book… a finding object book with a bit of the Bible to read each day. Today’s reading was Genesis 3, 1-7 about the apple. You then looked at the picture, found the apple and talked about trees and fruit and such. 

Some of the learning fun

But there’s more… today marks the beginning of Activity Villages’s Advent Calendar as well! This is a favourite of ours as it is daily and last year had us end up with 100 new ornaments! This year you make your own village! Most of the kids have opted to string their houses up but Zander is doing the table version. Added to that they have activities and such for each day too. Today was a focus on stockings. Emanuel did the colour by numbers to go with it! I love the series, especially with the time difference as I can access the next day early and get my print outs done and supplies organized early! I can’t wait to see our villages unfold!

Colouring their houses

And the final portion of our Advent season – this is for the twins really – our Polar Express lapbook. Today we did the first two mini books, read the story again (a first time for the little ones to sit through) and folded our folders so we can start piecing it together as we go. Our lapbook is from www.ajourneythroughlearning.com. When I checked their site briefly I was not able to find the exact one we used but if you search on Currclick there are a few options connected to the book. Once we finish the lapbook we will watch the movie again. It really is a very good rendition. 

Gavin has decided HE wants to sew some gifts as well. I am keeping one of his personal designs but after that am giving him free reign to gift out. Right now he is working on a UK pattern (they are great as they don’t use half stitches). It is a joke card and very cute. He has a lot of patience for this and persists even when he gets knots and stabs his finger. 

Hard at work

Zander has opted NOT to sew, instead he focused on time with Echo (he is my sheet holder when I attempt pictures), fun with Lego and he was the first one out the door this afternoon to build a snowman. His exuberance did finally convince Gavin it was a good idea and they BOTH built snowmen… all I have for today is the works in progress but they went for the REAL deal… rocks for eyes and mouths and a carrot for the nose!

Well on its way

Work in progress

Emanuel was my indoors boy with his workbook excitement and a mini craft… We couldn’t find my 3 sided beads (I have them in holiday colours darnit!! But I will find everything in the end… I am down to my last closet to organize). What we did find was a bunch of Christmas ornament craft supply my friend Kathy gifted us a year or two ago. With some pipecleaners, imagination and careful creation of patterns Emanuel was the proud creator of TWO beaded candy canes. The blue and green one (not pictured) was VERY short and chunky but we managed. I am sure AFTER Christmas is over I will find my bead stash!

Traditional Candy Cane

In order to get in a bath I needed 5 min to myself so I dug out my surplus stickers and embellishments, got everyone a piece of paper folded into a card, had the boys help the little ones and snuck off. We ended up with 4 very different Christmas cards (including two pinks!). I just have to add in our moo cards to each one going to someone and check them off my list. Slow going as I am trying to keep organized but it is going! Last night I finished TWO gifts and crossed off some more people. I hope to do the same with a US package. 

Completed cards

I received some mail today! I ordered some blue hair extensions off of eBay and they finally got here today. I will have to play around with them and trim them down to size but I am so excited! I wanted to dye my hair blue but have heard some real horror stories so this is the next best thing! AND they were under 3.00 for all 3!

Hair things

So with snowmen, Advent calendars, talk about trains, sewing and all the other random occurrences we seem to have kept busy! I wouldn’t say the time has flown by but I blinked and it was past 3pm! Yikes! Take a look at THIS Lego creation! The boys now want that many Legos too! 

And the crafting goes on… for me as well. BUT I did manage some time in between crafts to clean up my ribbons (the kids dumped one container and the other container was a mess by my own work). Now the kitchen table… well… yeah let’s just ignore that one for now! I know I have! That leaves my laminating to trim up, a house to “assemble” for Zander…and of course a hunt for something for Trinity to “do” tomorrow… 

Echo's embellished pj's

Baby with her cube