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It Seems Like Some Thanksgiving Goodness is Needed Today

Last night is still sitting heavy in my heart this morning, so we are taking pause to just be quiet and thankful for the goodness and beauty that is around us. As I am writing this, my three girls are sitting in the sunshine making a strand of beads for our Thanksgiving tree. I am listening to one of our old Thanksgiving mixes and watching the flurry of activity out on my window bird feeder. I’m feeling like we need to be a little extra gentle with each other today. Here are some little bits of re-centering Thanksgiving goodness that are bringing me joy today.

A New Thanksgiving Playlist we put together for 2016 –


These really wonderful Chocolate Chip Zucchini muffins. Warmed up with a little butter, they make everything feel like its going to be OK.
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A lovely stack of Thanksgiving books from our local library inspired by this reading list.

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Write a note to someone today to tell them you are thankful for them. Here is a thank-you-note-printable I designed to get you started. Print as many as you like 🙂
(Click the link to open a printable pdf that is already sized and ready to print. I think it works best on cardstock paper, but whatever you have on hand will work.)

thank-you-card

ABACUS: “Letters” Project Round UP

(Above image is from a Greeley mural created by Wes Bruce.)

The theme for this month’s Abacus project is “Letters” (ABACUS is our creative home curriculum centered on a theme). I am excited to share where we have been going with it!  To see the whole list of projects we came up with (and resources!) check out our original post, here.  It’s been a lovely way to spend February.

The first thing we did was to get out all sorts of lettering sheets and make a poster for the month with all our ideas and plans. We had a fun time experimenting with different fonts and styles. I got pretty into this too and had a great time addressing all our valentine envelopes with different fonts. Ridiculous, I know. But so fun.

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Here are a couple of awesome vintage charts I found that you could print out and play with. Ah, the lost art of lovely handwriting.
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Lucy wrote a letter to her first pen-pal.
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We haven’t had a chance to set up letter writing stations around town yet, but we’re planning on doing it soon! We are also still hoping to take a visit to the local Post Office and have a tour (we did go and pick out some stamps on our last etsy mailing errand).

We started illustrating our own animal alphabet book. Its destined to be a classic.

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Tim took a brisk alphabet-photo-walk with Lucy where they found all the letters in the alphabet.
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Speaking of photos, I have been loving participating in the annual Atlas photo a day challenge on instagram.
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Lots of mail has been made and delivered around here, thanks to these cute little mailboxes we picked up for $3 at target and customized.

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Been listening to lots of this album, as well as our ABC playlist (still to come).

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We started a little stamp collection by printing out some of these pages – http://stamps.org/userfiles/file/albums/2014-Issues.pdf and putting them in a three ring binder. Any time we got a letter this month with stamps on it we add them to our stamp “album”. Hattie (who’s 3) in particular has loved this.

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Lucy has been enjoying playing these typing games on the computer.

Tim spent a morning teaching the girls about addresses. I later received this sweet, sweet letter. Keeping it forever 🙂

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A “letters” tie in that I had not anticipated has been my set-design work for Frontier Academy elementary school. One of my close friends asked me to design the set for their show called “Knights of Dawn” (its from one of the Magic Treehouse books). We did a literary theme by constructing the whole thing from oversize pages of the text and old books. Lots of “letters”! 🙂 The girls have loved it.
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Finally, we did a whole “Secret Spy” day that was pretty epic. It involved “lasers”, a spy course, and a top secret code. Read about the whole thing here.
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Share your projects on our facebook group!

– See more ideas at: http://giantsandpilgrims.com/abacus-letters-a-creative-curriculum-list-for-february/#sthash.l90fvSMi.dpuf

If you want more info about this whole Abacus project, start here.

To jump in and connect with other families and share what you are working on, join our Abacus facebook group.

Or, to connect see our whole list of Letters project suggestions and resources list, head over here.

Abacus: Top Secret Spy Assignment

Lucy woke up yesterday telling me all about a dream she had where she was a spy. She then sat and stared at the cover of “Spy Kids” on netflix for about 20 minutes, talking about how much she wanted to be a real spy. I sent her upstairs to assemble a “spy” kit (what she came up with is pictured above) and told her not to come down until I was ready. While she and Hattie were working on their bags, I set up a spy training course. I saw this idea on pinterest a while back –

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So I quickly strung yarn “lasers”, set up a row of chairs over “hot lava”, and ended the course with a ride down a roller coaster. We also listened to a mix Tim and I made a while back called “This Album Will Self Destruct.” It was pretty fun (Ironically, I had woken up grouchy and tired and had zero desire to do anything fun or engaging with the kids. What I really wanted to do was to sit and drink my coffee and look at my phone.) I wanted to find a way to tie the whole thing into “Letters”, so in the afternoon, Lucy received this message in the mail:

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Code Key

Since this month is all about Letters, we thought it would be fun to pass it on to you as well. Print it out, and, if your kiddos are into it, follow the instructions and they too will get a package from us in the mail with some fun trinkets and “spy” gear.
Signed,

Crocodile, Spider X, and Scary Bear (our spy names the girls came up with)

Free Printable Gift Tags

Here are some lovely little wildflower wreath gift tags to brighten your gift wrapping this next week. The original graphics came from a series of small painting I did for Wildflower church as a thank you to the volunteers. Print these out on cardstock paper and cut out in circle shapes. Click here to download an 8.5X11 pdf – printable gift tags
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printable gift tags

Printable Placemat

 

Someone actually gave us some artfully done paper-placemats that we’ve used on occasion (with the way our kids can destroy a table, a paper-placemat isn’t a bad idea once in a great while…)

So Betony Coons designed a printable placemat for this season’s holiday meals.  Enjoy this “one-last-thing” to worry about!

 

Click here to view as an 11X17 printable pdf –>
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Ephemera Download: Bottle Labels

 

 

What better time of year is there to concoct potions? Whether they’re fictional messes you’re mixing together with children or actual brews (like homemade oils, cocktail mixtures, or canning adventures) here are some old-fashioned bottle labels for your creations.

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Featured Artist: Joni Lissak

Joni Lissak

Artist & Lover of Elephants

Joni teaches art at a charter school in Greeley, CO with an undergrad from the University of Northern Colorado. She produces intricate, beautiful, and interactive art shows. (One being a narrative thread of paintings inspired by a Regina Spector song.
Gallery goers could listen, touch, and contribute to the show).

Click the download button below to get the high resolution 5X7 file. Print it out and place the music jar somewhere it will “play” for you.

[purchase_link id=”233″ style=”button” color=”white” text=”Purchase”]

 

(Note: click the download button, then the purchase button – it will be $0.00, then click “download now” to get the high resolution file)

 

Contact Joni for art commissions:

box.of.paints@hotmail.com