Just get started already…

28 01 2013

Motivated by the success I was having creating Christmas crafts this year, I have decided to make a conscious effort to become a doer instead of just a planner. I have a hard time putting my perfectionism aside and starting what seems like complicated or involved projects. I never feel there is going to be enough time, I might get interrupted by one of the kids, or that there are other things to be done first (like dishes, or changing diapers). I found a few times over the holidays, that if I just get started, more often than not, something gets accomplished. It may not be perfect, it may not be complete, but something is better than nothing.

I will put up a separate post on the Christmas crafts I did this year. It was fun to turn my inspiration into actuality. And the process was just as fun as the results. For now I will leave you with the project of the moment- my very first sensory tub. It was made on the spur of the moment, using the container that had been housing the toy cars now scattered all over the bedroom (we’ll pick those up when we’re done playing with moon sand).


It doesn’t have to be extensive or expensive. The kids were playing with the cars and I was reading a blog post on sensory tub ideas. Moon sand- never would have thought it was as simple as 5 parts flour and 1 part oil. I grabbed up their toy bin, mixed up the moon sand (while multi tasking and calling my sister), threw in a few spoons, small containers and some stray dinosaurs.

My IMG_46062 year old has been enamored for over an hour already. We are working on fine motor skills and vocabulary at the same time. Fun, educational, easy set up, easy cleanup- my kind of project!!

What is in store tomorrow??


Fabulous Fall Crafts and Activities

9 10 2012

Fall is the perfect time for outdoor activities like apple picking (been three times now this season!) and fairs. Here’s the three munchkins at at local “touch a truck” afternoon. Don’t they make an adorable fashion statement altogether?

Our latest fall project included black glue to create some spectacular leaf designs. The inspiration came from Mess for Less (the leaf forms) and Robin Mead Designs (the colors). We used watered-down acrylics on cardstock (8.5×11″ cut in halves). I trimmed the excess background after they dried and now they are gracing our front door!

I’m amazed at how interesting leaves are…seriously! I am also very happy the kids never tire of them. We’ve had some nice science lessons learning about different trees and the characteristics of their leaves. How’s this for a leaf identification chart? Up next on our fall arts and craft list are these projects too:

What are you creating this autumn?

Homeschool Away From Home Day! #homeschoolspiritweek

24 09 2012

We are having a blast homeschooling, but one of the drawbacks is that there isn’t time leftover to post all the exciting things we do! (sorry!)  This week we’re celebrating Homeschool Spirit Week and I thought we could share some of the week with you.

Today is Homeschool Away From Home Day!
We’ve got other travel in store this week, so our “away from home” was outside today. We had the most perfect fall weather! (t made my heart sad to think of other elementary school children stuck inside.)

We practiced phonemes with a game of hopscotch. Hopscotch exploded all over the driveway and soon we were practicing writing numerals and skip counting. (By the way, chalk is awesome for beginning writers!)

And then making an underwater habitat for piranha. (They started off as koi, but Mighty Man added teeth.)

There was a momentary interruption when someone spotted an inchworm and we all stopped to observe.

Find International Homeschool Spirit Week 2012 on Facebook and at Currclick.

Beautiful books

12 02 2012

We love our library and all the new children’s books just waiting to be discovered. Here’s a fun author I came across recently…

If you’re a sucker for chubby penguins, you need to check out the works of Oliver Jeffers. Up and Down is my new favorite. It also explains why penguins don’t fly. I stumbled on a special video of the author reading Up and Down: http://www.upanddownbook.com/ It’s an awesome teaser to the story. While you’re there, check out the fun activity sheets!

And while you’re adding new treasures to your kids’ bookshelf, why not submit a picture to the “Around the World in 100 Bookshelves” project. Taking a picture of ours is on my to-do list…

More Favorite Things This Week

24 01 2012

Here’s a few happy things going on around here…

The New England Aquarium
They certainly have a lot of resources for planning a trip to the aquarium! Our upcoming trip will be a good wrap-up for our homeschool unit on penguins. I’m also very curious to find what new study units it will inspire. Sharks? Seals? Seadragons? I have a feeling it might be lobsters as my kids can’t take a trip to the grocery store without visiting their ornery crustacean friends.

A cute little game to learn letter sounds or sight words or …. Simple to learn and even easier to adapt to your child’s needs. A must-have freebie!

Kevin and Amanda Fonts

I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas! kevinandamanda.com/fontsI’ve discovered kevinandamanda.com with loads of free fonts…that are actually cute & useful! Pea Cassie is my new go-to font when typing things for Bean because it’s sweet and easy to read.



What are your favorites this week?

Mighty Mike Mulligan

25 09 2011

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel was our Five in A Row book of the week. Amazing how timeless this story is! In addition to some of the FIAR lessons, we also incorporated an author study by reading more of Virginia Lee Burton’s works. My clever kids could pick out characters from different books illustrated in other ones.

We happened upon the Mike Mulligan sound recording performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Our library only had MM book with the CD, so that’s what we got! It was a nice surprise to hear the music inspired by the story and to enjoy the narration. I also learned a lot of new things about the book and the author.

The publisher has a little page dedicated to Mike and Mary Anne here: http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/mike_mulligan/mmpage.shtml There are some activities to go along with the story too, like anthropomorphizing an every day object.

We finished off our week by making “dirt desserts” that were a cross between this and this. We thought Mary Anne would have liked that! We mixed 1 small package of vanilla instant pudding with milk (a little less than making the pie filling) and whipped cream. Mighty Man smashed a handful of chocolate sandwich cookies into dirt, then he and Bean layered the dessert in little cups. I would have loved to put the dessert into an angular serving dish, to make the corners “neat and square,” but everyone enjoyed it as it was.

Mad for Madeline

15 09 2011

Another week in our Five in A Row Series has us reading all about Madeline. Given the love of Madeline in our house, we might have been tempted to skip this book, but both Bean and I are glad we didn’t. Remarkably, Madeline holds many math lessons… Since “the smallest one was Madeline,” Bean sorted her figurines into different size groups. Here’s Madeline and the Mr. Men, with a rogue kinder-egg rabbit sans ears, showing friends that are smaller. We also measured our own heights to figure out who is the smallest in our family. We’ll put our measurements aside and revisit them every month to see how we change. Maybe Mighty Man will outgrow Bean soon!

Another math topic we covered is symmetry. Our hunt for all things symmetrical started with a close examination of the book’s illustrations. We finished up by share-drawing symmetrical butterflies, something Madeline would certainly love!

In addition to the lessons suggested by FIAR, we’ve added our tribute with watching all of our Madeline videos, including Madeline and the Bad Hat, Madeline in London, and the even more far-fetched, Madeline in New York. We also had a fun time playing our Madeline game; helping Genevieve find her lost puppies is harder than it sounds! Did you know that Madeline also has her own official site? Not much for the kids there, but a great place for parents to learn more about the author and the history of Madeline.

Ping goes to school

29 08 2011

No, Bean isn’t reading about computers or submarines…It’s a duck! With much enthusiasm, we’ve started part of our home school for the year with the Five in A Row Series. The first story we’ve read together is A Story about Ping, a little duck living on the Yangtze River. Some of our projects included drawing motion lines with colored glue, talking to relatives about ducks, and discussing Chinese culture. We finished off our week with a homemade Chinese food dinner. Bean’s favorite takeout dish is “beef on a stick.”  Wasn’t sure we could replicate it at home, but this recipe got her seal of approval as “the best dinner ever.” Meanwhile, Mighty Man ate 3+ of the shrimp egg rolls they made together. Looking forward to next week’s adventures!


Same and Different Activity

3 11 2010

Here’s a quick & easy learning activity…

I folded a paper in half then asked Bean to draw a pumpkin on one side. When she was finished, I flipped the paper, and asked her to draw a second one without looking at the first. Then we opened the paper to reveal the two pumpkins and made a list together of their similarities and differences. (The stem on the right-side pumpkin makes me smile!)

Well, Bean decided later to make another comparison on her own. She drew a friendly ghost on one side and a Christmas tree on the other. She got to work listing what was the same and what was different too! It seems the only similarity she noted was they both have presents. Hmm, wonder what she’s thinking about?


Speedy art project

15 10 2010

Hmm, what to do when Bean is bored with coloring? Make your own drawing and watch her eyes get really big when you color over everything with a black crayon. Then sit back and enjoy her excitement when she gets to draw with pens and toothpicks. Note to self: buy some bigger, better black crayons…