Sunday, December 29, 2013


Next week, we start back up with My Father's World kindergarten and our first unit of the New Year is on dinosaurs.  LittleBear doesn't know much about dinosaurs and I think was a bit confused about them, so an idea came to me...Dinoday!!!

These were the kinds of dinosaurs who made the tracks

Saturday we did something I have been wanting to do for a while now.  We made the trek about an hour and a half away to Dinosaur Valley State Park to see dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy riverbed.
Looking for tracks...
It was really neat to be walking along (or in) the river and find several different kinds of tracks there in the water.

The view from midriver!

Because of sediment in the water, not all of the tracks were visible, but we did see quite a few! 

Acrocanthosaurus print

Pluerocoelus print (it was huge!)

Acrocanthosaurus print

After seeing the tracks, we decided to check out nearby Dinosaur World, which boasts a half mile walking path with over 100 scale models of all different types of dinosaurs.  We all enjoyed it!

Watch out family!  The T-Rexes are descending!

 LittleBear said his favorites were any of the "friendly" dinosaurs (aka the plant eaters), Grams and I liked the family of dinosaurs that I can't remember their names (Apatosaurus, maybe?), Jeff liked the Tricerotops, and Grampa's favorite was the Velociraptor. 

Grams & Mommy's favorite

Daddy's favorite

Grampa's favorite

Even LadyBear seemed to like looking at them! 
 Happy LadyBear...

LittleBear also got to "dig for fossils" and came out with two shark teeth and a small something else.


It was a really fun day and I think LittleBear is now much more excited to learn about dinosaurs!

Twelve Symbols of Christmas: We didn't get to finish...

A few of you have asked about our Twelve Symbols of Christmas study and unfortunately, much like this star ornament, we didn't get to finish (LittleBear got the flu just before Christmas).  We'll try again next year!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013 from the Browns!

We wish we could send everyone a card, but alas, that's just not in the budget. So consider this our Christmas card to you!

Here are the kids in their Christmas pj's, made by Bethany:

And as a bonus, enjoy this video of the older kids in our LifeGroup performing the Christmas story from earlier this month. (That's LittleBear as Joseph, and Jeff making a cameo as a wise man.)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Twelve Symbols of Christmas: Christmas Lights/Candles and Candy Canes!

Tuesday, we talked about Christmas lights/Candles and why lights at Christmas are important.  We learned how important it is being a light for Jesus to the dark world around us and how he is the light of the world.  After dinner, we did our own version of the Minivan Express and went on a tour of Christmas lights around our city.   Thankfully, WacoFork had already figured out where the best spots were, so we had a good idea of where to go.  Both kids enjoyed it although LittleBear could not understand why he needed a ticket to get into the minivan...oh well!  I don't have any pictures from this because it was dark, but we did have a good time :)

Yesterda, we talked about candy canes!  As it would happen, LadyBear loves them and LittleBear doesn't at all...go figure, but we talked about them anyway.  We read a great book called The Legend of the Candy Cane that LittleBear cannot get enough of and learned all about what makes candy canes special at Christmas time.  Go get the book from your library, it's great!

We made beaded candy cane ornaments and then went and passed out candy canes to random people we came across.  Mostly, I let LittleBear pick who he wanted to give them to, but I did make a few suggestions including the two men who repaired our garage door today, the friendly workers at our Post Office who always have a smile for us and the friendly manager at our local Hobby Lobby who always loves seeing the kids.  Otherwise, he gave them out to whomever he wanted, which was everyone in the post office and a bunch of people in Hobby Lobby.  Who wouldn't want a candy cane from a little blonde boy who comes up to you and says, "Excuse Me, Merry Christmas!"  We ran out of candy canes and all he wanted to do was go to the store so we could get more and do it again this morning...which we did :)

 LittleBear on a mission to find who to give the last candy cane to...

I think my favorite story from the whole thing was this lady who gave him a dollar at the post office (I tried to politely decline) and then he turned around on his own and put that dollar in the Salvation Army bucket outside Hobby Lobby.  He then gave the bell ringer a candy cane and she gave him a dum dum lollipop, which he thoroughly enjoyed on the ride home.

This will for sure be an annual tradition in our house!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Twelve Symbols of Christmas: Cookies & Bells!

Yesterday, we talked about COOKIES!!! (I sure hope you read that in a cookie monster voice, because really, that's what I do every time I see that word and quite frankly, it's more fun that way.)  We learned that just as there are a ton of different types of cookies out there, there are tons of different types of people out there.  God made us all and made us all unique, no cookie cutters for Him!  We took the opportunity to make cookies for those in our community who serve us throughout the year by bringing us mail and also collecting our garbage and recycling.  It sure was fun to see the smiles on their faces this morning when they saw what we had left!

Today we had fun with bells!  We learned that shepherds used to ring bells to call their sheep to them and when we hear bells at Christmas time we can think of our Great Shepherd calling us to draw close to Him. We played with our own bells at home and also watched a handbell choir play the "Carol of the Bells" online.

 Taking turns ringing a bell!!!

And just because I can't be the only one with this song running through my head all ya go!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Twelve Symbols of Christmas: Ornaments!

Yesterday, the kids and I talked about ornaments on our tree and why we hang them.  We learned that ornaments symbolize the blessings in our lives and just as ornaments are all different shapes and sizes, so are the blessings we receive from God. 

We each thought of a different blessing we had received from God, thanked Him for it and then made foam ornaments with stickers (we love stickers around here). 

After we were done making ornaments, we hung them on the tree and I talked them through each of their ornaments and what blessings I thought of when I looked at them.   LittleBear is pointing to the ornament I made for him this year, which has the shield of our local fire department in a small red picture frame.  This reminds us of the fun, fourth birthday party we had with our friends and family and how much we loved having LittleBear with us this year.

LadyBear is looking at the ornament I made for her this year reflecting her first birthday party.  I explained that she is a special blessing to me and when I see this ornament, I remember celebrating her first year with us.

The tricky part has been teaching her that the ornaments stay on the tree!  She's been doing much better than I expected with this though and still loves looking at the tree and all the things hanging on it. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Twelve Symbols of Christmas: Christmas Trees!!

 I had all of these grand plans for Christmas related school and most of them have not come to fruition around here.  Worry you not, however, because we are doing our annual Twelve Symbols of Christmas fun and we started today talking about Christmas trees.  I have this free simple book about  Twelve Symbols of Christmas that I printed off a few years ago and we're going through it again this year.   I like it because we see all these symbols of Christmas, but often times do not know how they connect to why we celebrate this wonderful holiday...this little book helps us do that. 

We learned that Christmas trees are evergreens (aka always green), which helps us remember Jesus is always with us.  The color green represents new life, which we have through Christ.  As a line from one of my favorite Christmas books says it, "The tree that's green when others die, tell us Jesus came and why..." We also read The Pine Tree Parable, which I had checked out from the library, but is on my list to buy maybe another year. 

For fun, both kids did this no mess Christmas tree craft and I was amazed at how LadyBear did with the stickers.  I didn't even have to show her, she just knew how to get them off the paper and stuck on the trees.  LittleBear loved it too! (and yes, they are still in pjs...just keepin' it real, folks)

We also tried making these Christmas ornaments, which did not go over quite so well, but the beads were really tough for LadyBear and I don't think it was LittleBear's thing.  Still, they both gave it a valiant effort!

LittleBear does love using his scissors though, so after rest time (going on now), we'll give this craft a try.  Check the kids' twitter feed for pictures if it works out.  Here they are with their finished trees:

Speaking of Christmas trees...last week, LadyBear saw her first Christmas tree lit and up close in our living room.  It didn't have the ornaments on it, but she sure didn't care!!  To show our little lady's love of all things sparkly, here is a video.  For reference, she was super upset waking up from her nap because she is getting her first molar tooth and that's just not a fun experience.  Cheer up, LadyBear, here is the Christmas tree!!