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This post is part of my ongoing series, The Alphabet Dances, which you can find here.  For the letter 'U', I decided to create some ribbon wands as dancing props, something to physically dance under.  I used some wooden circles that I found at a thrift shop (you can likely find some at a dollar store or craft store) and simply tied long ribbons to each. 

 
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Being farmers, we don't often get away much in the summer months, but instead like to take a few days in late autumn.  Not quite the same as a summer vacation, but getting away from the farm and it's constant work is still a wonderful (and much-needed) break for all of us.  Sadly, we hadn't done this since Dooter was born, caught up with farm busy-ness that went straight into Christmas busy-ness, and also not sure how Yummy would manage in a strange bed, since she is now FAR too big for our travelling playpen.  

 
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Christmas is my favourite season: the warmth and coziness of being inside a colourfully lit home while snowy storms rage outside.  As with many things, the anticipation of this holiday is probably the best part, and I like to draw it out by starting early, making handmade gifts.  I have lost a bit of the excitement in receiving gifts, as I've grown older, but being able to plan and make presents for others makes me feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas again.  

Like I mentioned in my post about the giveaway (now closed) on Dot to Dot Connections, I strongly believe in the value of child-made gifts and what they teach: generosity, resourcefulness, thoughtfulness, etc.  Here are some beautiful ideas for kids to create for friends and family.  Most of them are possible for pre-schoolers to make with a little help.


 
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This is the final post in my Night Sky series of three.  If you missed the first two, you can read Part 1 and Part 2.  This last post in the series explores some Full Moon Artwork (What Does the Moon see?), I share a free printable for Counting Stars, and we try out Galaxy Play-Dough!  

 
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This is my second post in my three-part series on The Night Sky.  If you missed the first one, you can check it out here, and now you can also readPart 3!  This post deals with some art appreciation, and since I had a print of Van Gogh's Starlight Over Rhone, it seemed like a perfect connection to our little unit!  If you aren't quite so lucky as to own this print, you can view it online at EssentialArt.com.  After our activity, I pinned it up in our play corner so the kids could continue to look at it every now and then.

 
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Now that the days are shorter, my early-to-bed kids are able to see the night sky more often. The moon and the stars have always been a source of beauty and excitement for Yummy.  She never gets tired of racing to the window to wish on stars or to see the moon, whether it is night or day.  With this month's full moon happening this Sunday, I decided that now would be a great time to start a themed unit for the kids to explore the wonder of the night sky.  You can check out your local moon phases at almanac.com

This is the first post in my series of three: here are Part Two (Art Appreciation & Painting with Van Gogh) and Part Three (Full Moon Artwork, FREE Counting Stars printable, & Galaxy PlayDough)


 
Emma from P is for Preschooler has nominated me for the Sunshine Award -how nice to be nominated once again!  I love her bold move to change the rules and will happily follow in her footsteps -11 questions are a lot to come up with, and I don't know how many more random facts I can generate about myself either.  So thanks for nominating me, Emma, and also for making the award a little easier to pass on!  If you haven't had a chance to check our P is for Preschooler, you definitely should -lots of wonderful ideas there!

 
The Sunday Showcase
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This post is part of a series called The Alphabet Dances where I am exploring the alphabet through movement and dance with my children.  Today it is Z for ZigZag (Yummy's letter choices seem to have no rhyme or reason), which seems like a perfect occasion to explore pathways.  

 
I am currently working on a post about Child-Made Gifts, so when my friend Missy, from Dot to Dot Connections, asked if I wanted to help promote her giveaway for a book on this very topic, I was quite excited at the connection!  Missy is hosting a giveaway for a copy of the book Why We Give Gifts at Christmastime by Corine Hyman, Ph.D.

I'm a huge fan of child-made gifts.  I believe that taking time to create something for others teaches kids a lot about generosity and thoughtfulness.  Teaching them to make gifts gives them skills and knowledge so they don't always have to resort to buying something mass-produced.  Kids don't have a lot (if any) money, but nurturing the spirit of giving while they are young is possible if they are taught to make it themselves.  Making simple gifts takes the stress off of finding the newest and best things to buy and brings the focus of giving back to generosity and love.  

And the good news is that you get an extra entry for this giveaway if you 'like' Back In The Hills on Facebook!  Huzzah!  Good luck to all!

The contest closes Friday, November 8th at 5:00pm CST.
 
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Yummy and I explored baking soda clay as a medium the other day.  It didn't stand up as well as the photos where I got the recipe: the Etsy New York Team, but it was a wonderful sensory experience -so soft and silky to work with!  We were able to make it into small shapes (I forgot to take pictures of our clay-working!!).  We shaped the clay into balls and stuck straws through to make a hole.  Yummy also used a couple cookie cutters to make some fish and a heart.  After baking it for about half an hour, we had some homemade beads to decorate for one-of-a-kind neckwear.