Sunday, September 30, 2007

Our New Felt Board

Here is the felt board I made yesterday. I'm so excited about it. It was totally simple to make. If you've been thinking about making one, and haven't, I highly recommend just doing it! It took...MAYBE 10 minutes? I bought a precut piece of felt at Micheals, for $3 (it's 3ftx3ft). I bought a wooden dowel to hang it from (that was .49). We already had those hooks up from an advent calendar we hang there at Christmas. This is the end piece of my kitchen countertop (talk about good use of space??), and I figure I can take the felt down anytime I want and just roll it up to store. All I did was fold the felt over the dowel, mark where I needed to "notch" it for the hooks, and cut slits. I glued down the fold over, and DONE. These are the cutouts on the board (I just laminated them, and backed them with felt). My daughter is currently playing with from behind me I hear "a meteor is headed for Earth...ahhhhh" :-)

I also printed out some GREAT phases of the moon cards, and a labeling worksheet for when we are covering the moon! I joined this yahoogroup called montessorimakers. It is awesome. I highly recommend you check it out if you are at all interested in Montessori materials. They divide up the material making by subject (like this past week has been science, hence what I've been working on), in a Flylady system. I've been getting a lot of new materials made this way. Next week is Practical life, Sensorial, Art and Music. I have some art cards to make, and I'm going to make "sound jars" and "smell jars". And, who knows what else I might get around to! I got all my science stuff done though (well, I still need to felt Jupiter and Saturn-they are big-and in pieces, so I didn't get them done yesterday).

I'm off to the grocery store, and then to enjoy the day with my family! My DH has been gone since Thursday afternoon, and I'm so excited he's home.

Have a great day!
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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Baby school, and other miscellaneous ramblings

What do you do with a VERY active 8 1/2 month old while doing school with your older kids?

Reading about Fall:

Cheerio Fun

The current favorite activity, crinkling paper!

***Editing to add a couple more pictures I forgot I had***
What do you mean this isn't how I'm "supposed" to work the puzzle?

Working in the shadows of big sisters.

This is "Baby school" at our house. I don't have photos of the other things we do, but they include: Dancing and singing, saying nursery rhymes, listening to Spanish, playing in the water, playing chase (another favorite), tickling, talking about animals, and learning new baby signs. Today I bought him some of his own "school" boxes. He likes to pull the girls boxes off the shelves while they work, so I got him some of his own, and I'll just rotate the activities in there for him.

I'm working on creating science materials this week. I'm putting together a set of planets for the flannel board I'm going to make over the weekend. I also plan on making a flannel skeleton, but not until next month when I work on science materials. I printed all my planet coloring pages from If you haven't joined there (it's free) I HIGHLY recommend it. Most of the worksheets are too young for us now, but there are still things I use from there-like the cut-outs, murals, and fact files. So you'll get lots of use out of it for YEARS. Enjoy. I got MOST of my social studies materials completed last week, and now I'm on to science!

Tomorrow is our Girl Scout meeting, I'm pretty ready, I just have to go to the store tomorrow to pick up some things that we need. We'll be planting some seeds, and making a blanket for a community service project. I'm up to 8 girls in my group, which is very exciting.

We've had a crazy week with doctor's appts. and illness. The baby didn't get over his cold until Monday! Sheesh. Then on Tuesday he had an appt with the dermatologist, who referred us to a specialist at the college here. On Tuesday afternoon my youngest DD started complaining about stomach pain. It was so bad she didn't sleep much, and finally I took her in to see the doc yesterday afternoon. We were concerned about appendicitus, but it turned out to be a really bad stomach bug that was only causing stomach spasms (no nausea or anything, just pain). The doc (I LOVE our doc) recommended some meds, and she was able to sleep and woke up feeling better. Yippee! **Editing to add** My pediatrician called me at 9:30 last night, the actual pediatrician too (her nurse called to check on her yesterday), to tell me that she had sent the strep test she did off to a different lab because she just felt like it WAS strep. She did the in office test, which came back negative. The second test result was positive! So she does have strep. Ick. That's twice in just about a year. Sigh. As soon as the pharmacy opens, I'm going to get her meds, I would have gone last night to the 24 hour one, but my DH is out of town and the children were all asleep when she I couldn't really run to get it. Keep her in your thoughts please. Even though she seems to be feeling better, she's still obviously battling a nasty bug.

We're getting ready to do lots of fun fall things that I'll be sharing! Fall is my favorite season, so I'm very excited to do things. We'll be going to a farm soon, and I can't wait for all the great pics to come from that!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

A good day!

So, I was reading on my friend Heather's blog ( ) about a project she was doing, so I decided to copy her idea, well, because it was great! The idea was having them look at a classic painting and have them recreate it. So, we started looking at paintings online, and DD#1 picked a sunset painting by Sona Singh (don't know how "classic" that is, but it was what she liked). DD#2 chose Starry Night by Van Gogh. Here they are hard at work on their masterpiece recreation.

Here is DD#1's recreation, and here is a link for you to view the original work: (it's the top, far right one).

DD #2's recreation, You can google Starry Night and see the original Van Gogh.

Then the girls asked me to paint with them, so here is MY own recreation:

My older DD got inspired, and wanted to create something else as well, and asked me if I could "Put it on the internet, so she could be a famous artist too", so here ya go, she has titled this: Polka Dot Paradise:

Also DD#1 drew "Winnie the Pooh" for her baby brother, early this morning, and I wanted to share that with you all as well, because she did a really good job!

DD#2 helped make lunch. We had pigs-n-blankets. Here are photos of her, cutting the dough, and rolling up a piggie!

And, she helped make the dough as well (before we started school), so there was math involved. DD#1 helped make a double batch of chocolate chip cookies (so she had to multiply and add). :) Hope your homeschooling is going as well as ours!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Not a great start to our week

We're having a sick day today. Not because either of my girls are sick (knock on wood they won't get it) but both myself and the littlest are sick. He's been sick since Thursday night, when he woke up very congested and just had a miserable night. We're going in to see the doc this morning because it's just been so many days, and he doesn't really seem ANY better yet, and today he's been rubbing at his ear. The ear rubbing may mean nothing, since he just cut his seventh tooth as well (yes, cold and teething...fabulous mixture) and he often rubs at his ears-from the jaw pain-when he's getting a new tooth. BUT I figure better safe than sorry. I can choose to believe it's just the tooth, and then be awoken in the middle of the night by a feverish unhappy boy who has an ear infection, or I can just go have the doctor look. I choose the latter.

Today is the start of our bowling league season as well. Only my middle child participates, the older hates to bowl. I don't know if I'll be taking her or if my hubby (who is working from home today to help take care of me, and the baby, and the house, so I can rest more) will take her, but she's very excited to go!

This week I'm working on making some more social studies materials. I'm going to cut up some cheap map placemats for some sort of matching game (I also plan to make a flannel board set from them...but don't know that I'll get to that this week.) I'm going to make some more of the state flags cards we've been using that the kids really like. Let me share that site with you all while I'm thinking about it: What I've been doing is printing out the flag information sheet, coloring the flag in myself (WHY? Because I'm a neurotic perfectionist and I NEED them to be pretty!), then cutting the sheet apart and putting the flag on one side and the info on the other side. I'm also planning on doing a very similar project with the state outlines, and the state capital and other state facts on the back of the outlines. Hoping to get at least a few of these done this week. We're working through all 50 states, in alphabetical order, and I'd like to have at least half done soon. We'll see how quickly we all feel better. Oh, a note from the neurotic perfectionist here--some of the flags are a smaller size, so I cut them out and glued them to a piece of cardstock that was cut to the same size as the others so that they all matched in size. neurotic.

The weather is so beautiful here, and it's slated to be in the upper 70's/low 80's all week! So, we may get NO school done and just get outside (although, lots of learning will happen out there too).

On an outside note, in last weeks "This all counts as school, right?" post I mentioned that my girls had captured a grasshopper that day. WELL, WELL, WELL! yesterday my younger dd was looking at him (yes still in his far too tiny enclosure, poor thing) and noticed what looked like a grasshopper skeleton in there with him! I had no idea grasshoppers molted! I guess it makes sense, they need to grow, but hadn't occurred to me. So, we looked that up right away (ahh the wonder that is the internet), we also found that there are two kinds of grasshoppers-long horned, and short horned, and I asked the girls to tell me if they could figure out which ours was, they successfully identified it as being a long-horned grasshopper. And, then we let him go. I am actualy happy they kept him for so many days, since we got to see his exoskeleton! But, I was happy they let him go as well, jump Larry jump!

See, learning does happen all the time.

Off to get myself dressed for the doctor. I'll post more later in the week as I get my projects done! Happy homeschooling all.

OH, and hey! I finally have the comments working right, so let me know you stopped by! :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Two, Two, Two blogs in one day!

I am revisiting my blog because I have two more minutes while my baby naps and I wait for the water to boil for my potatoes, and I just need to get this out there.

My mom called me this afternoon, with a request. Make some materials for one of my nephews to learn his multiplication tables. He doesn't know how to multiply or divide. He is 17. He informed me about a week and a half ago that he couldn't accomplish these tasks which my 9 yr old daughter can do (at least the multiplication, and simplest division). I was shocked! How do you NOT KNOW HOW to multiply and divide??? He was in public school until he was 15 1/2, when he decided he wasn't going anymore and my sister (grumble grumble groan) decided he could be "homeschooled" which apparently meant do nothing all day? Anyway, that's beside the point. HOW did he get to 8th grade with no one noticing that he couldn't multiply??? WHY did they keep passing him??? WHAT am I going to do to help???

It is very frustrating for him as he is trying to get his life on track (he's had a troubled youth). He's attempting to get his GED so he can take some college level classes and get a decent job to better his life. He's really a good kid, he just has had some hard knocks.

So, now I go about the task of teaching a 17 yr old multiplication and division.

Oh, Kate, I tried to make it so people could comment! Maybe I did it right?

This all counts as school, right??

Soooo today, I've been trying to get my act together for our first Girl Scout Meeting of the year! I have a ton of stuff to do, including the cutting of 60 nametags out of cardstock for all the girls in our troop (YES, we have 60 girls in our entirely homeschooled troop, isn't that awesome??). Well, I'm not even done with that yet! Plus I had to finish up my own stuff, for my Daisy girls. I'm done with that, except for packing my bag of stuff I need during the meeting, everything is ready. I just have to finish nametags, and decorate my lanyard so I can make everyone jealous that mine is all done. Anyway, these lanyards didn't come with a ring on the end that would allow us to actually add a nametag. I, of course, didn't realize this until after they were here. SO, today I needed to go get split rings so that we could add the nametags to the ring on the lanyards. This involved a trip to Michaels with all 3 children in tow, something I try not to do, ever. The girls of course wanted to go to Cold Stone since there is one in the shopping center with Micheals so we made a deal that they could have it IF they would pay for it themselves. They happily obliged. I got my Montessori-inspired weight bottles made this morning before we left and actually put them out on the table before we left, waiting for them to be discovered. They were when got home: "What are these for Mom?" I explained that they should order them by weight. They did it quickly. Then, they needed to look up what grasshoppers eat, because they have captured a grasshopper in our bug-house thing. They are really enjoying me quizzing them with pictures of the state flags (I hold up the flag, they answer what state the flag is from, what the capital of that state is, and one 'fun fact' about the flag itself, or the state) so we played with those too.

Math-money, they had to count out money from their piggy banks, they had to figure out how many dollars to give the lady at the ice cream place, and make sure their change was correct.
Science-grasshoppers are herbivores!
Science/Math-the weight bottles
Reading-grasshoppers are herbivores!
Geography/Social Studies-state flag game
Gross Motor Skills-jumping over those big balls out in front of Target counts right?

This all counts as school, right?

I sure hope so, because I have 24 more nametags to cut, and I'm not sure how much "real school" I can fit in before Monday.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

How I spent Sunday afternoon.....

I made multiplcation and addition tables! The pictures are both of the multiplication ones, but the addition ones look exactly the same only with a plus in t he upper left hand corner. I'm sure you can get the idea. I've got them all cut out, and laminated, now I just need to cut them from the lamination. This will allow the children to do the drill with a dry erase marker, and use them over and over and over. I made the blocks pretty big for the beginning ones (thinking I can use the beginning addition ones in a few years when the littlest one starts and the squares will be big enough for a preschooler to write in), and smaller on the full ones. The cards that say 1234X1234, have a 1234X5678, and a 5678X5678 counterpart as well.

I also have to say that I spent part of the afternoon working on my "Daisy Friends", from I'm using them for my Daisy Kaper chart this year thanks to another awesome leader who shared the idea, which she got from another awesome leader on the web. They are turning out really cute, I have 4 out of 5 done. And, we might have a 6th girl joining, but I have enough friends printed that it'll be a matter of gluing to get hers done. This is a really cute idea.

I also spent part of the day preparing for dinner. We're having a special birthday dinner at my mom's house. Yesterday was her birthday and the girls are totally excited to make her "Fake Bake Ziti"; You can find the recipe here:,1977,FOOD_9936_29012,00.html So, if they are cooking what was I preparing you ask yourself. Well, since we'll be at Grandma's, I know they don't want to spend TOO much time in the kitchen, so to save them some time I grated the cheese, and cubed the mozzarella for them. Oh, I also cut up apples for an easy apple cobbler, a recipe I got here:,1637,150181-243205,00.html

This is one of those days that I'm going to look back on when I lie in bed tonight and feel like I got SO much accomplished! (I also went to the grocery store this morning!) Of course, I have been up since 4:30am. Apparently that's the key! If we'd all just get up at 4:30 in the morning, we'd get so much more done! Oh, and I got a 5 hour stretch of sleep last night...yes I said 5 hours in one stretch! Gooo me. I can thank my gorgeous 8 month old boy for both of these phenomenon.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

We have two weeks of school under our belt! Yippeeeeee. We took yesteday off, as the girls spent most of the day with their dad (my ex-husband), and then we had a neighborhood cookout! It was great fun. Today we're going to work on our "social skills" and our gross motor development! (We're going to the park.) My girls, as you have all read me whine about before, haven't been able to spend as much time with their friends in the last 18 months as they are used to (I was sick a big chunk of my pregnancy, and then their brother took forever to get on a decent routine that allowed us to venture out of the house.), so I am giving them another day off to just enjoy some friends. I'll have them read a book, and count some stuff too, then we can call it a REAL school day. :-)

Speaking of routine, I'm so happy we finally have one again. And, now, having put that out there for all the world to see, my son-being the child that he is-will quickly destroy said routine. I am, by nature, a VERY scheduled person. It's just the way my brain works best. This child was obviously sent by the universe to teach me to let go. He has blown any semblance of routine out the window since his arrival almost 8 months ago! But, finally, in the last 3 weeks...he's starting to give me just a LITTLE bit of normalcy.

The best part...he's mobile. Completley. He can get to ANYTHING he really wants (mostly dog toys and the wood pile). He crawls, though not on all fours, it's an all out on the belly army crawl, but he can pull up and cruise along any surface (even a moving one...bugger). He also really loves his sisters school books. That's a sign that he's incredibly eager to learn right? (Listen, don't crush my hopes here, just smile and nod.) We're working on signing with him, and he currently recognizes 3 signs (the 3 most important to his universe!)-milk, eat-we use that one for solids, and bed. He can't do them yet...or at least I haven't figured out what his version is yet....but he defineatly recognizes and will respond to them in a "Oh thank heavens you have finally figured it out!" sort of way. I thought he was doing his own version of milk for awhile, but that turned out to be a fluke I suppose, he again, was only toying with me.

Here is a great site to look up signs: (you can click on the page specifically for baby signs as well).

We are now working on More/Again, Wash, Ball, Book and Water!

Ohhh, I should also let you all know that my oldest DD has decided to quit school. Why you ask? Because I told her that 4th graders HAVE TO WRITE IN CURSIVE. :-) So, she told me that she would HAVE TO QUIT THEN. LOL She knows all of the cursive letters, upper and lower case, but for some reason doesn't use them in her school I've seen her write full pages in her journals of I guess it's mostly that I ASKED her to. Why is this a big deal you ask? Because her print handwriting is atrocious, and huge. But, her cursive handwriting is appropriate size and easy to read. So...I made the silly request that she do ALL her school work in cursive, when she protested I informed her that 4th graders write in cursive (ok, I do NOT know this to be fact I think here locally they've phased out cursive altogether because who needs to know how to WRITE anymore! SHEESH-can you tell this gets me???). Maybe if I asked her to print everything like a kindergartner I get beautifully, cursive written assignments everyday. Sigh.

I'm working on getting several projects ready for our Girl Scout troop. I will again be the Daisy leader, these girls are so great! I'm preparing some really cute stuff, and I'm so excited for the year to begin. We had a get-together kick off last Friday, and it was nice to get to see some of the new girls I'll have this year. I only have one "returning" Daisy. Daisies is a one-year program typically, but our troop lets in girls a little on the young side, and they do it in two years (we can make our own rules!). We're going to participate in the "Flat Daisy" program this year, where you have a flat Juliette Gordon Low (nicknamed Daisy) that you take with you to outings etc. and you email letters back and forth with other Daisy troops about her adventures! I think the girls will like it.

I guess that's it...I need to get snacks packed for the park so I have some time to clean before we go...when babies crawl, you have to vacuum (darn-it!).