Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's a Feista!

Our Spanish tutor Senorita Maria invited the girls and some of her other students over for a fiesta.  Violeta and Senorita Maria both dressed up for the occasion.  Maria spoiled everyone with a movie (E.T., which by the way is such a great movie I don't know why I haven't watched it in the past 26 years), treats, games and prizes.
We played Spanish bingo.  The rule was that the Punkettes (and Mommy) had to speak Spanish while their new Spanish-speaking friends had to speak English.  I loved the fact that the Punkettes got a chance to try out their second language with some new friends and we can't wait to play with them again.

Plaza Lights

Since Daddy got some much-needed time off from his "second job," we were able to spend some time together as a family over Christmas break.  Thank you Uncle Troy for taking care of Grandma so we could get away for some fun.  

We took the girls on a surprise family date, starting with a burger joint. 
 This lead to silly Punkettes sticking french fries in various facial orifices:
We teased the girls with clues about our big surprise, telling them that involved something equestrian.  They thought we were going to a petting zoo.  But in the end, it was a trip to the plaza to see the plaza lights on a private horse-drawn carriage. 

Mommy and Aliah shared a hot-chocolate.

Daddy, Violet and Annabelle shared another hot chocolate.

Guess who had more than their share of sweet liquid warmth?

Canine Cookies

In order to keep our pooches spoiled for Christmas, we made these treats for our family dogs (with something sweet for the owner). 

Click here for the recipe from Allrecipes
(I might note that these need to be kept in the freezer for freshness if the aren't all eaten within a couple of days.)

A Very Haigh Christmas

We counted our blessings as we celebrated Christmas with the Haigh side of the family.  The girls were thrilled with their matching American Girl outfits that Grandma gave them. 
More time with our sweet niece Charlotte.  Baby's first Christmas is always extra special.
A bird's eye view of the Haigh festivities by our amazing photographer, Deidra:
Tracking Santa Claus with Uncle Troy.
A very Merry Christmas!  More celebrations to come with the Spicer side of the family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Getting Crafty for Christmas

We finished school this week and are devoting the rest of our week to baking and crafting.  Annabelle got her first taste of using the sewing machine while making a blanket for Violet's American Girl doll.  She came up with the idea for the gift while looking through some of my fabric and seeing some princess fabric that she knew Violet would love.
Since she hasn't officially practiced sewing (without thread on lined paper), we did a crash course and she did a few stitches on one of the sides of the blanket by herself.  She was thrilled to just spend time crafting in Mommy's off-limits craft room, let alone getting to "drive" the sewing machine by herself.

The finished product.  From Annabelle's idea to complete, wrapped  and under the Christmas tree in less than a half hour. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Fun

Last night the kids had their friends Isabel and Isaac over for a sleep-over.  Movies and popcorn fun last night.  Violet has been doing this unit study with the Gingerbread Baby Theme, so I had promised the kids we would make our own Gingerbread cookies.  This morning after reading the book The Gingerbread Baby, we snuck in a little school while the kids wrote about their favorite part of the story. 

Some time for playing:

Aliah instructed Isabel on the basics of playing the violin:

Then it was time to wrangle our very own Gingerbread Babies for some frosting fun:

(For you decorating enthusiasts, I tried this new trick to load your frosting bag and it worked really well:)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reading Progress Reports

Since reading is such an important part of school, I thought I would take a little time to touch on the amazing progress the girls have made in this area.  I just gave them a reading assessment and both are performing well above grade level.

                       Date                Words Per Minute:

Annabelle:     July 2011                 27
                        Dec 2011                54                                     

Aliah:             July 2010                39
                      July 2011               119
                      Dec 2011               173

Both girls have excellent accuracy (95% and 99%, respectively) and good comprehension of what they are reading.   Annabelle is reading about a grade level above 1st grade and Aliah is reading several grade levels above 3rd grade.  Perhaps it's all of the practice she gets with chapter book a day. 

I might note, that Aliah was a "late bloomer" with reading, but when she took off there was no stopping for her.  I am glad that homeschooling accommodated this learning style and she wasn't labeled as a poor or slow reader.  It just took a little time and patience. 

Annabelle's Baptism

This weekend Annabelle was baptized.  It was a wonderful day and she basked in the attention of her two Grandmothers and her Grandpa.

 Uncle Beau and Lindsey were also able to come for her special day. 

Stringing it Up

 The girls did a great job at their winter recital.  They played in several groups, each had solos, and also did a duet.  We are very proud of their accomplishments on their instruments.  It is obvious that they enjoy playing and all of their practicing has really paid off. 

Annabelle with her cello instructor Mariah:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Program

Last night was our church's Christmas program.  Before the short skit, several kids shared their talents.  Aliah and Annabelle each played a solo and then played a duet.
 Violet's preschool class sang some songs.  What, you don't see Violet? 
Well, that's because she was scared to death to get on the stage without the moral support of a sister and stayed on her Daddy's lap shaking and crying:
 Singing Christmas carols:
 Aliah played Mary in the skit:
 By the end of the program, Violet realized that she was not going to get her bribe of some candy since she didn't perform with her class.  So she attempted to redeem herself by joining her sister on stage.  Not sure what nativity character she thought she was, but it she gave it a shot. 
On the way home, she argued her case, stating that she DID in fact go on stage and deserves candy!  Sorry, Violet, nice try.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Paper Advent Chain

Today the girls made an Advent Paper Chain.  A little slice of heaven for my my cut and glue queen:

 There are 25 days of Christmas themes and verses to look up
 A great way to remind us that Jesus is the reason for Christmas.
I guess it's time to change my blog background into something a little more festive.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Play Dough Snakes, Euros, New Strings

 Random happenings at the Haigh house include Violet making play-dough snake letters (don't all home-schooled preschoolers dress up in their Christmas best for school?)

 The big girls are "visiting" Europe right now and currently learning about Germany.  Punkette behavior has bee remarkably good since the reward for a good school day has been choco-mini Euros. 
Annabelle's crush on her student cello proctor in her strings lab has increased after she learned that Wolfgong is German.  Now she knows "why he talks funny"  (Hopefully I can sneak a picture of him playing with her soon.)

In other news, I took my violin in for a tune-up (small f-hole repair, new bridge, new strings, new bow).  It turns out that when outfitted with nice strings it has great tone and was appraised at five times what my parents paid for it (Go Mom!).  That earned it a new case, complete with suspension and a hydrometer.  Can't wait for Aliah to grow into it.  She's currently using a half size violin.