Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looking ahead (for a change!)

Honestly, I was once one of the most prepared people....over the last year though, my personal life (meaning: the grown up stuff) has fallen apart around me, and as I've been trying to piece it back together others areas of my life have most definitely suffered. I'm trying to get THOSE parts back on track.

My plan for December consists mainly of a countdown to Christmas. We will only do "real" school through the 16th. The week leading up to Christmas has a birthday for our family (Two is turning 12....*sigh*) as well as Yule, and the week after we need to recover. ;) Plus, I think MIL is coming in for at least some of that time. We'll do a study of Winter in January (even though it starts this month.) For December, we're going to countdown and discuss some of the symbols of Christmas.

I found this link that gives some background to the different symbols of Christmas. There are Bible verses and biblical reference. I'm good at taking the parts of things that work for me, and leaving the rest...I recommend you do the same. *wink*

Our Christmas Countdown, which will start on the 1st, includes these activities:

1. Open new ornaments for the tree (Each year the kids get new ornaments for the tree, I try to find something representative of their year, and I'm SUPER excited about this years ornaments.)
2. Take Christmas Pictures!
3. Attend a Christmas parade.
4. Write letters to Santa.
5. Discuss St. Nicholas Day and leave out shoes!
6. Shop for a gift for Birthday Buddy (this is a birth board gift exchange.)
7. Shop for a gift to donate to Toys for Tots.
8. Train ride
9. Make Christmas Cookies!
10. Make a handmade ornament.
11. Make and leave gifts for neighbors on their doorsteps.
12. Drive around to see Christmas lights.
13. Buy presents for siblings.
14. Choose a special treat.
15. String popcorn for the birds.
16. Have a family christmas movie night, with special goodies.
17. Make Chex Mix and Muddy Buddies.
18. Make chocolate covered pretzels
19. Learn a French Christmas tradition
20. Make Christmas presents for family.
21. Visit the bookstore and choose a new Christmas book.
22. Christmas lights hayride and visit Santa.
23. Make a craft with Mom.
24. Make reindeer food, and Santa's cookies. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Random Fall Activities

This year we joined a preschool co-op with our homeschool group. We meet once a week, and so far it's been great. Three enjoys it, and Four....well, he likes the playing after. :) This is a picture from co-op where we did "nature painting." Here is Three painting a leaf, and a stick with a feather.

I used the boys hand/arm to make the tree trunk by painting them brown. I put out "fall" colored paint--red/yellow/orange/green--and they dipped fingers in and made leaves using their fingertips. You can see (the top one) where Three made "falling leaves" in a line. :)

I added some fall items to our "oatmeal box." I put in a few leaves that are bright fall colors, some pine straw, some acorns and a small pinecone. The oatmeal box is a small box I bought at $Tree with a flip top lid. I filled it with dry oats, and try to switch out the small objects inside it. The boys will take a spoon (or their hands) and dig through the oatmeal to find the "prizes." It's usually a messy activity...but the clean up only involves a vacuum, and the large thing of generic oats is a buck.

I wrote out some "simple story problems" for Three to work on. Things like:

The squirrels are getting ready for winter. Brown squirrel collected 4 acorns. Grey squirrel collected 2 acorns. How many acorns do the squirrels have?

We'll work on learning what the "+" and "=" signs mean, as well as simple addition.

I printed these onto cardstock: and let the boys finger paint on them with brown/orange/red/yellow...then I let them dry and cut the shapes out and hung them in the window.

Three did a leaf craft that I ordered from Oriental Trading (a couple years ago actually) that could be easily replicated. Cut out a leaf shape, and you would paint it with glue, and add small pieces of tissue paper crumpled up in fall colors. It's hanging in our window, but I don't have a picture.

In the spirit of thanksgiving, I'm putting up a tree trunk in the window, and from now until thanksgiving we will be adding one leaf a day with something we are thankful for written on it. I've been doing it since the girls were Three's age (sigh...8 years ago.) I used the same leaf templates from above to cut out leaves in orange/yellow/red to write our gratitude on.

Thanksgiving is coming!

I'm spending the next 2 weeks doing a thanksgiving unit that I downloaded from Homeschool Creations.

I'm also printing the "Roll a Turkey" game from A Lemon Squeezy Home.

As well as the corn maze, and color by letter sheets from Reading With Kids.

We also are collecting leaves and drying/pressing them for an activity with our co-op after thanksgiving.

Random Picture Catch Up Post

I know that I have severely neglected the blog...again. It was one of my "new year goals" to keep the blog updated regularly. Fail. Oh, well...there is always 2012. *wink wink*

My BFF and I took all our kids (minus Four, making a total of 6 kids) to a corn maze. Three worked on directions (left/right) and the big kids worked on working together.

After making his "mama snake" he counted "babies" and put them all in the nest.

He's rolling out a playdough snake. (I'm so glad I have a table cover on my gorgeous wooden table...look at what they've done to it.)

Do-A-Dot snake.

Three and Four painted a paper plate to make a snake...we hung them from the ceiling.

Finished snake.
Making his bead "mama snake."

Four making a "mama snake" out of beads as serious.

This is probably one of Four's FAVORITE activities. It is wooden shapes (from a puzzle that had it's board broken, and a couple wooden shapes I picked up at the craft store) and an outline of the shape on index cards. Easy peasy, and he will do it three or four times in a row!

Frog paper bag puppet.

Going over a printable of the frog life cycle.

Putting the frog life cycle cards in order.

Painting a lily pad.

Finished lily pads.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I'm currently doing units that Three is requesting, because well, he doesn't like what I pick. And, with public school recently starting back here, and the neighbor kids talking about all the fun things they were going to learn Three started talking about what he could learn when he goes to school...he seemed a little surprised that *I* could teach him those things NOW if he wanted. Seriously, who taught you all the things you already know, dude? Yeah, that would be ME! So, he asked to learn about animals....but then asked to learn about frogs. And, now, snakes. Uh huh, amphibians and reptiles. I got ya.

Snake Letter Craft I think I will adapt this to have "our" snake make a W...or some other letter, that would be easily made by a snake (I'm still in the planning phase, so I'm not sure what we'll end up with) as Three already knows S.

Geared more for Four, but Three almost always wants to do whatever activity I have for his brother, we'll make a color snake. Four has a good grasp on colors, but almost always gets brown and black confused. So, our snake will probably have more than one black/brown segment. :)

We will visit the science museum and look at some native snakes.

For gross motor we'll slither on our bellies like snakes. :)

For fine motor, we'll make a bead snake on a pipe cleaner.

We also have our first preschool co-op meeting this week, and a park day. This should be more than enough activities to keep us busy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday

We did Muffin Tin Monday today, but I was pressed for time and didn't get a picture before letting them chow down. Today was our first "back to school" day (which means I had my rear in gear) and I took the boys to the park this morning....meaning that I had to get lunch together quick when we came home, and they were starving. Seriously, my boys are always starving.

Anyway...I got LOTS OF LOVE for this particular muffin tin collection because of something SO simple. I cut the pb&j into the shape of a HEART! You'd have thought it was made of gold. Three was SUPER excited, and said "I love, love, love, love, LOVE you!"


Other items in our tin: pretzels, applesauce, green peas, peaches and marshmallows. If I had thought about it before last night...I would have tried to put together an all green theme in honor of our frog week, but alas...sometimes I'm just flying by the seat of my pants!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Frog paper bag puppets, because Three has thrown it down that "We *never* make puppets." Oh yeah...take that.

I printed out frog coloring pages (you can google it.) Look at google images and noted the wide variety of colors frogs can come in, and then color the pic.

Discuss where you would find frogs, and where you find those beautiful colored frogs we find on google images. Map printouts are your friend.

Print out the life cycle of a frog, and go over it. Print out a 2nd one, and cut it into separate cards to be placed in the correct order.

Focus on the letter F....seriously, Three has a mental block about this letter, so we keep visiting it. Someday.

You could do color mixing here as well: blue/yellow to make green frogs.

Rhyme: Five Speckled Frogs! (I love this rhyme...shhh don't tell.)

Lily Pad craft: I cut out a green circle, used a coffee filter and let them paint the middle (or all of it in Three's case) yellow. After the coffee filter dries, glue the flower onto the lily pad. These turned out cute.

And, we may do the tadpole craft from notimeforflashcards (one of my FAVORITE sites): There are other good ideas, you should check it out. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Community Helpers

Firefighters, Police, Construction worker, Mail Carrier, Veterinarian

Nursery Rhyme: Ladybug, Ladybug Fly Away Home

Police Craft: Cut out badge shape from cardboard. Cover with aluminum foil. Use the handle part of the paintbrush to "draw" on the badge.
Discuss what police do--speed limit signs, stop signs, litter laws, etc.

Construction worker craft: make a safety vest out of paper bag;
Build with blocks in the "construction zone"

Firefighter craft: Paint a fire-red/orange/yellow paint, add a cut out of a house.
Draw flames with sidewalk chalk, use hose (or spray bottles) to put out the flames.
Tour the local firestation

Mail carrier craft:
Cut out mailbox shapes put a letter/number/shape on each mailbox. Make an envelope and put the matching/corresponding item on the envelope. Have child match them up.
Mail something!

Pretend play "vet" with stuffed animals.

Community Helpers Puzzle: Create this (if you don't have one) by printing a coloring page, color it, and then cut it into pieces for your child to put back together. If you have a laminator, or access to one, laminate the page prior to cutting it.

Math Skills: We'll use the blocks on our building day to make some patterns. We'll also make towers and count the blocks (we are working on higher numbers.)

Four will be learning the color red, and we'll work on matching. I'm going to make a "color red box." A color box is a school supply box (like a stiff cardboard pencil box) and I will put various RED things from around the house in it for him to discover. We'll look at the box each day.

Another project I'd like to complete this week is a color match wheel. You cut out a cardboard circle, paint sections of the circle in different colors. Paint clothespins to match. Have child pinch the clothespin to clip it on to the matching spot on the circle. I plan on doing this 2 times. One with just 4 colors (for Four) and one with more colors (for Three.)

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Today my goal is to go over my preschool skills checklists to see where we are. I'm trying to decide if Three will be ready for Kindergarten level work by fall, or if we'll just continue on with preschool. He wouldn't go to Kindy this fall, because of his Jan birthday, but homeschooling allows him to do school at a different level than his social skills set....which wouldn't be at all ready for K. Two started Kindy when she was still 4, she has a late Dec. birthday and would not have gone that year, but she was academically ready.

I'm using two skills checklists: (this list is often considered advanced, and I'll bear that in mind as well.)

This weeks theme, which will be put up tomorrow, will be Firefighters, and other community helpers. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March Week 5--Spring

I have been in a funk since the beginning of the month. My apologies. Three and Four have done very little "organized" school because of my funk. I'm snapping out of it (I can feel it...) and have planned this coming weeks unit. We'll be talking about spring. I know in many parts of the country, it's not really feeling like spring so maybe they can use these acitvities to help them feel "springy!"

Counting--flower stickers; Make a field of flowers, counting as you go.

Science: Make a birdfeeder--using paper towel/tp rolls and pb and birdseed. Here is a link:

Science/Craft: Make a birds nest--go on a scavenger hunt and glue the nature items to the inside of a coffee filter making a nest. Talk about how birds look for things for their nest.

Craft: Stained glass eggs; Discussion of eggs being new life that occurs in spring. Observe the nest building in our yard (we have a bird box, and a ledge on our porch where there is current nest building going on, YAY!) Cut out the outline of an egg (2), have child pick 2 or 3 colors of tissue paper then cut it or rip it into small pieces, stick it to clear contact paper then cover with another piece of contact paper. Hang in a window and let the sun shine in!

Science/Craft: March is windy-discuss how wind moves the clouds (and observe it!) Make a cloud out of cotton balls.

Plant seeds. Water them (this is my boys favorite activity.)

Fly a kite.

Craft: Make a kite out of construction paper.

Importance of Honeybee's discussion and a bee handprint craft:

Splashing in the Puddles (gross motor activity from

Set small mats, such as those used for naptime or activities, around the room to make a disjointed path. Then have each child stand on one mat and jump up and down, singing the following song (to the tune of “We’re Following the Leader”):

We’re splashing in the puddles,

The puddles, the puddles,

We’re splashing in the puddles,

One, two, THREE!

When they reach the last line, children should jump forward three mats. You may want to instruct children to remove their shoes before starting this activity. If you’d like, you can tie this activity into the book that you’ve read by discussing how it might feel to splash in real puddles.

Read more:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March Week 2: The Big Red Barn

Math skills: Estimation...use a farm related item (dried beans, unpopped popcorn kernels, toy farm animals, etc.) place some in a jar and have the child guess how much the jar contains. For this, I think I'll show him groupings of 10, 25, 50 before hand and then let him estimate as I don't think he has ANY grasp of this concept. He could prove me wrong though, woudln't be the first time.

Play "The Farmer in the Dell."

Sing Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

Craft: Milk Carton Barn.

Science: Food from the farm. What foods do we eat that grew on the farm? Another discussion about healthy eating.

Science: Duck feathers repel water. We have a local pond that has lots of ducks. I'll go collecting some feathers from shore, and we'll spray some water on them to demonstrate how they repel water.

Craft: Stick Horse

Science: Make butter! It's really simple. Put some whipping cream in a jar, add a marble, and shake shake shake! Enjoy it on some bread. Mmm. Mmm. Good.

Craft: Pig of Many Pinks (I will see if I can find some other shades of pink tissue paper at the store, all I have is HOT pink. If I can, we'll do this, it sounds cute!)

Craft: Alternate for the above, but I may do both! MUDDY PIGS- Cut large pig shapes out of pink butcher paper. Give each child a pig shape with a small amount of brown fingerpaint in the center of it. Let the children cover their pig shapes with the brown fingerpaint "mud." (MUDDY PIGS- Cut large pig shapes out of pink butcher paper. Give each child a pig shape with a small amount of brown fingerpaint in the center of it. Let the children cover their pig shapes with the brown fingerpaint "mud.")

F is for Farm. For some reason Three cannot remember this letter to save his life. Ok, I take that back, recently (since it's the beginning letter in "Get Ready For the Code" he's been doing better. He knows several letters, and we've already covered F, but for some reason he always forgets it.)

Math skills: Counting a dozen objects, and using the word dozen. :) We'll use plastic easter eggs in a carton, and maybe these flashcards:


Cooking: Make haystacks with chowmein noodles, peanut butter and butterscotch chips

We'll also be doing "Food From the Farm" for Muffin Tin Monday!

Sensory: Coffeee grounds make great dirt for tractors to plow! (Awesome idea from

Sensory/Science: Different forms of corn. Corn starch, corn meal, corn kernels, popped corn.

I also have a game that I got from a GamesForLearning yahoogroup that is called "Farmer Farmer What Do You See?" it covers both colors and counting so I'll use it for both boys (colors for Four, counting for Three."

Lastly, I printed a game AGES ago...seriously, One was a toddler that is a big red barn and several small animals. You have to match the animals to the farm, since some of them are not farm animals. We'll defineatly play that as well. Three has played it before, but it's been awhile. I googled and couldn't really find anything similar to what I have, but you could EASILY make your own version of this.

Week in Review

This is how you make a Venn Diagram interactive.

It's hard to see the ribbon outline in this shot, the original idea was to use hula hoops, but alas, I didn't have 2 hula hoops on hand. So, ya do what ya gotta do to make it work.

Helping me make the cupcakes.

Watching some newly emerged butterflies dry their wings. Sadly, one butterfly did not fully emerge before his wings dried. But, it was a good lesson in life.

Painting his coffee filter with watercolors.
Three's finished product.

And, after assembly.

Three painting his egg carton caterpillar.

Adding eyes.

Adding some of the food the caterpillar ate.


We did the life cycle cards, he enjoyed them, somehow I didn't get pictures. This weeks theme is "The Big Red Barn." We are visiting a farm next week, so we are preparing for that. Plans to come shortly.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

March Week 1: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This weeks unit is going to be based around The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. We currently have 5 caterpillars in chrysalis preparing to emerge as Painted Lady Butterflies.

--Memory: Butterfly match game. We have a beautiful one that I ordered from Eeboo a couple years ago. But, before I remembered that (yes, I sometimes forget about great materials that I ordered, shut it ok) I was going to make a simple butterfly matching game. You could cut out different color butterflies from construction paper, use stamps to make patterns, etc. and play a memory game with those just as easily.

--Gross Motor: Move like caterpillars, and then move like butterflies

--Craft: Egg carton caterpillars: paint an egg carton, punch 2 holes in the first cup, thread a pipe cleaner through to make antennae, add googly eyes and you have a cute caterpillar.

--Craft: Coffee filter butterflies: Use an old fashioned clothes pin (the non-pinch ones) and wrap pipe cleaner around the top for antennae. Paint a coffee filter (you could also use colored tissue paper if you don't want to paint) and after it dries fold it and slide it into the opening at the bottom of the clothespin and spread out the wings.

--Math: arranging caterpillars from smallest to largest. I'm using these: (There are MANY awesome things for this book on this site, you might find something else you think your kid would like there...check her out!)

--Math: addition Ex: on Monday the caterpillar ate one apple, and on Tuesday he ate two much food did he eat on those days? And so on, you get the picture.) I printed this: to use as counters for the math problems.

--Math: Count how much food the butterfly ate ALL week.

--Cooking: Make cupcakes, and form them into a caterpillar. Enjoy!

--Lunch: Butterfly sandwiches--cut the sandwich into triangle pieces, and arrange them points in to look like butterfly wings, use a pretzel rod, carrot stick or pickle (or anything you think of!) as the butterfly's body

--Science: Life Cycle of a butterfly (We've been watching this first hand, as we ordered caterpillars from Print out sequencing cards and put them in order. I used these:

--Science: Did the caterpillar eat healthy foods? Which ones weren't healthy? The caterpillar got a stomach ache, what might give you a stomach ache?

--Science: Sort the food the caterpillar ate into food groups-meat/veggies/fruit/grains. Brief discussion of how much of these foods boys/girls should eat.

--Science: Purpose of butterflies (2ND largest pollinators next to honey bees,) found everywhere on the planet except Antarctica

--Science: Sense of taste. Butterflies taste with their antennae.

--Language: Before/After--"What did he eat BEFORE the oranges?" "What did he eat AFTER the plums?" (I will use story sequencing cards from for this)

--Language: Days of the Week

--Muffin Tin Monday: I'll be using foods from the book to create Monday's Lunch! :) We'll be out all morning on Monday, so I'll make it ahead of time so it's ready and waiting when we arrive back home at lunch.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Best Laid Plans....

**I apologize for the formatting of this, but I've edited it 4 times and it just won't stay.**

Sometimes Three just blows my plans out of the water. LOL We started on the President's Day ideas, and well....he wasn't really feeling mama's best laid plans. He does like money, so he liked sorting the money, talking about the names of the money, and arranging it by size.

Doing crayon rubbings of the coins, not so much his thing. He absolutely refused to do the wig craft. BOOOOOO. I was most excited about that one. He had no interest. Oh well!

One and Two recently got their own laptops. I have been pretty adamantly against this for sometime. About a month ago, their bio-dad asked if he could get them their own computers. Hmmmm, let me think. I decided yes. And, now, I can't figure out WHY I fought this so hard! It has been GREAT. They are doing more of their work ON the computer-increasing their typing skills/speed. It is easier for them to get the things done (at least for Two who has writing...issues.) They don't have to wait for each other, or me, or Three to be done with the computer in order to do their work. They can share their google docs with me, so I can check them easily.

Why was I so against this? Live and learn. Live and learn.

Over the weekend, I will post another week's lesson plans. We've been so sick this month, that we've really not done much. Seriously we had the flu, then a stomach bug and have been sick non-stop since Feb 1. Is it March yet? Our next unit will be based on "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" book, because we have 5 caterpillars in chrysalis right now! Three is OVER THE MOON excited. I imagine they'll emerge next week sometime, so we'll be doing a unit on caterpillars and butterflies.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2nd Catch Up Picture Post

Three pouring water. This activity began because I brought out a pouring activity for Four, who is currently VERY interested in pouring things.

Four pouring colored pasta.

N is for Noodle (during The Napping House week.) This is a foam letter N I cut out, and Three glued on dry colored noodles.
Finished porduct.

Letters that Three made (spontaneously) out of his pretzel sticks.

One at a 4H competition, she made fruit bars. You can see some of her fab fashion sense in this photo as well. :)

Two at the 4H competition.

Playing Mitten Match

Warehouse club shopping is solely for the benefit of my boys, who ALWAYS get to paint the large boxes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day!

Here is what One and Two will be doing today:


And for Three:

We'll look at pictures of the first presidents and then do this craft.

Presidential Wig (from

What You Need:
Paper Bags
Packing Peanuts or Cotton
What You Do:
Talk to your children about how the president's uses to wear white wigs then have them make a wig. They do this by simply cutting one side off of a small lunch bag and then gluing packing peanuts or cotton all over it. When it dries your children can look quite presidential!

Also from everything preschool:

Do You Know? (Sung To: "Mary Had a Little Lamb")

Do you know who's on the penny? On the penny? On the penny?
Do you know who's on the penny? Abraham Lincoln.
Do you know who's on the quarter? On the quarter? On the quarter?
Do you know who's on the quarter?George Washington.

Note: Continue with other coins if you wish

We'll also look at the presidents on the coins (talk about the names of the coins too) and do coin rubbings. We'll put the coins in order from smallest to largest.

We'll locate the capital on a map.

We'll talk about the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, and do a coloring page of that.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The catch up picture post....

When I plugged my camera in, there were 179 photos. Yikes. That actually didn't include any of these. I'm a little behind. So this is the "catch up" post, which will probably come in 3 parts. This is "The Snowy Day" unit we did, with the exception of 3 pictures (2 of Two doing some neat projects I managed to work in in January) and the very last one that has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that my kids are awesome and love each other to pieces. :D

Two is making a cell model from play-doh.

This is instant mashed potato flakes. Three played in them dry (practicing the letter S.)

Then he added the water:

And dove into them wet.

Did you know that if you lick things they will stick to marshmallows? Three built a marshmallow, chocolate chip snowman.

A project to go along with a quick lesson the printing press, I wrote out a code and Two had to use stampers to stamp out the hidden message.

Number matching game.

After gluing the snoman together, Three practiced writing the letter S.

He LOVED this game. This is the "It is Snowing..." song from the lesson plan for The Snowy Day. He asked to do it OVER AND OVER AND OVER. It was a HUGE hit. Here he is all dressed at the end of the song.

Three is making 3 different sized snowballs, to see which one will melt the fastest. We hypothesized about it, and Three's guess was the middle sized snowball.

Maybe that was his guess because the sun was shining on it? LOL I actually moved them, so it wasn't the case.
Four playing with some of the snow.

One made this super-hero costume for Three out of some fabric scraps. Cute, huh?