Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Is Almost Here~Time to Slow Down!
Link to Bead Crochet Pattern
December 16th—where oh where has the month gone? In fact, where has 2013 gone? Nowadays, time certainly does seem to move faster for all of us, young and not-so-young. With busy schedules, many commitments, and the often self-imposed pressure to be all and do all, there is often little time to merely sit down, relax, and do a bit of nothing.

This year I decided, with a bit of coaxing from a coworker, to spend time doing some activities that seem to make time slow down. In other words, after a nearly 3 year break, I picked up my crochet hook and dragged my sewing tools out from the back of my closet.

Just as we adults often feel overwhelmed this time of year, the little ones in your lives probably feel the same way. As Christmas is just around the corner, one of the best gifts you can present to your children is the gift of time. Slow down and spend a few hours each day doing something that is slow-paced and relaxing. Watch some holiday shows. Read a few picture books. Play family games. The activity is irrelevant. The time you spend together is what matters most.
If you do decide to watch some holiday shows as an activity, why not help yourself relax and unwind even more by picking up your own crochet hook and knitting needles? Both have been known to lower blood pressure as well as lower the resting heart rate—a gift you can definitely offer to yourself this Christmas season.
The image at the top of this post will take you to a link to a pattern I created several years ago for a local newspaper. The link will take you to Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’s blog where the pdf of the pattern is stored. The child-size purse takes about 2-3 hours to complete while the doll-sized purse can be whipped up in a little over an hour, about the time it will take to watch Rudolph, The Grinch, and A Charlie Brown Christmas-three of my favorite Christmas classics.
This post will be my last post for 2013. I hope to SPRING back into blogging action by mid-January.
Needle Felted Snowman Creation Based on Vintage Christmas Card...I LOVE snow!

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Merry Christmas, Everyone! Thank you for reading my blog this year.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Last Minute Christmas Tree Craftivity & Mathtivity

The holiday break is almost here. Whether you are counting down the days until winter break or you are counting down the days to Christmas, practically everyone is counting down to something this time of year.
In this mad rush to finish the shopping, trim the tree, grade the papers, and find something to do for the kiddos in your life, the last thing you need is yet another thing to add to your list. ~Unless, of course, it is a quick, inexpensive, and easy craftivity sprinkled with a math lesson that will keep the kiddos busy while you are finishing the shopping, trimming, and grading papers.
This Christmas packet from Rainbows to Snowflakes includes an easy-to-make tree craft created with ribbon and pony beads. Also included are two math worksheets to use either as a follow-up to the craft project or as homework.
Skills addressed:
Fine motor skills
Counting with a 1-to-1 correspondence
Duplicating a pattern
Creating and solving addition sentences with answers less than 20

So put on some holiday music and have fun crafting and mathing with the kiddos.

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ONE Snowflake Among Billions

How do you pay tribute to the ones that you have loved and lost? From Thanksgiving through the end of December, people everywhere pay tribute in many ways. In the United States we remember those that risked everything to settle our country by welcoming loved ones to share a meal at our dining table. In December, we celebrate the birth of Jesus by donating our time and money to help those less fortunate than us. We present gifts to loved ones to remember the ultimate gift that Jesus presented to us. There are countless ways to honor others and help out the community at the same time.
Before Thanksgiving, readers of this blog participated in a memorial project that encouraged remembrance and selfless giving. This project was in memory of a man that none of the readers nor I had ever met--Roger Mulder from West Michigan. The participants in this project, both young and old, remained anonymous, only providing their first names and states in which they reside. True gratitude and caring was evidenced by the readers’ willingness to help shine the light on a kind and caring man that helped many many children have a brighter Christmas for 10 years.
The blog readers and their children selected toys were donated to the Salvation Army Angel Tree in Virginia and Michigan memory of Roger Mulder.
The blog readers and their children created or selected a very special angel to photograph for this project.
The blog readers helped continue Roger Mulder’s generosity.
I am certain that many readers wonder about the significance of this blog’s title--Rainbows to Snowflakes. Both rainbows and snowflakes are amazing examples of God’s gifts to us. When we take the time to study and admire the beauty of something as small and insignificant as a drop of water that becomes a snowflake-ONE among billions, our eyes and hearts are opened wide enough to allow us to see the splendor of a rainbow, the combination of billions of drops of water. Roger Mulder was ONE of those beautiful and amazing drops that formed a snowflake. When the readers of this blog paused long enough to take note of this man’s great acts of generosity, I am certain that their own personal rainbows became brighter.
The blog readers gave selflessly by participating in this project. And, a selfless act is the most precious gift we can present to ourselves.
Thank you to the many people that took time to snap a photo of an angel, create an angel, or select a very special angel and shine the light on an angel in Heaven--Roger Mulder.
Please take a moment to view the photos that are the conclusion of this project—each image ONE droplet, ONE snowflake of the beautiful rainbow of humanity.


 These toys were donated in memory of Roger Mulder:



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The 15 Ducks of Christmas & a Snowman or 2, TOO!

What do silly rubber ducks and Christmas have in common? They both provide a wonderful and fun avenue for learning important skills. Today’s post is all about having fun and learning at the same time. And, what better way to do it than with Christmas-themed rubber duckies? While you can easily print and use the images I am posting below, you can definitely add to the fun by getting a set of ducks for your math tubs. I found mine on Amazon. So, let’s get quackin’ and have some rubber duck fun.
The best way to begin is by adding new lyrics to an old familiar song-The 12 Ducks of Christmas is sung to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas, with the same ole’ dragging out of the words.
After you practice the song with your little ones, why not add to the excitement by using either the printable or your own rubber ducks to practice using positional words. In fact, where else can a duck go—in a stocking, under a present, etc?

What would Christmas be without a little silly duck humor?
As a reminder that winter is almost upon us, another changing of the seasons, I am reposting (by request) my Seasonal Snowman poem.

Happy Holidays, everyone!
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Sunday, December 1, 2013


Welcome to December—the eternally busy month where it seems as if there are never enough hours in the day, enough hands to do the work, and enough dollars to do it with.
As refreshing as a peppermint, the posts this month will provide activities and ideas for those that are somewhat busy, those that are very busy, and those that are—Are you kidding? When will I ever find the time to do that?! busy. If you are too busy to read this blog, don’t worry— these posts will still be here in January when the whirlwind of December is behind all of us.
If, however, you fit into the first category, take the time to drop a peppermint into your cup of cocoa and check out these ideas to use that winter-fresh candy with the little ones in your life.
Whether they are the real starlight mints and candy canes or the printable versions, these sweet treats provide wonderful opportunities to practice many math skills.
Included below are printables and suggestions for practicing math skills that include counting, single-digit addition, identifying shapes, sorting, non-standard measurement, comparing numbers of objects, sequencing, and more. Created by Rainbows to Snowflakes, this candy cane and starlight mint themed resource will provide ideas and materials to use in math centers, as warm-up activities, and small group practice for kindergarten and first grade.


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