Friday, December 10, 2010

T is for Tree!

The Alphabet Tree in all its pre-lit glory
Recently Kitty asked me to teach her to read. I figured it would help if she knew the alphabet - logical place to start, right? So, I went out and bought a bunch of workbooks, flash cards and beginner books and we got to work. She's totally into it, and can now recite her ABC's and identify many of the letters.  (As a note, the most effective tool was the one I was most reluctant to shell out for: Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read Pre-K . All I could think of were "1-800-ABCDEFG" commercials from when I was a kid.  Anyway, it works.)

We had just sold our big seven and a half foot tree and replaced it with a much more modest four and a half foot model.  All the ornaments I had seemed over sized on our new little Charlie Brown tree, and so the kids and I were talking about what we should do.  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when letter obsessed Kitty gleefully exclaimed "let's decorate it with the alphabet!"

O is for ornaments!
Aunt Karen and I made a trip to the craft store where we picked up some two inch wooden letters, some glossy acrylic paint in rainbow colors and paint on glitter (best stuff ever, the glitter is suspended in clear paint and therefore doesn't wind up all over your house).  Over the course of the next two weeks we painted 70 tiny letters until they were shiny, gave them several coats of glitter and added silver strings.  We cut jewel-toned cardstock into strips and looped a million of them together to make a paper garland.  We took our favorite small ornaments out of the closet, opting for silver snowflakes and red jingle bells.

Our paper crafting handiwork on display.
Next we had to find a new tree topper.  My beloved art-deco style silver angel was too heavy for the top of this dinky little tree. Nate suggested getting a bigger letter, but Super Dad pointed out that putting a giant "F" monogram on top of the tree might suggest "Tree Fail", or something worse.   We opted for an almost cartoonish looking white blown glass star with rounded edges.  It's completely perfect.  Last week we blasted the The Andy Williams Christmas Album (a tradition in our family since my dad was a little boy), made some hot cocoa (and some Jell-o shots!) and put it all together.

The jingle bells and silver snowflakes were the only "old" ornaments to make the cut.
I'm in love with this tree.  It's so cute, with it's preK-meets-Martha-Stewart vibe.  The time we spent planning and making the ornaments was so much fun, and each member of the family helped. I also love teaching Kit her letter of the day, and having her run to the tree to find it!  It's an extra way to get her excited about learning to read!




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