Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best Gift....

Just wanted to quick write up a post to say that I hope every single one of you had a WONDERFUL Christmas!! We had a fun-filled one too. I've been a little scarce lately for a few different reasons. 1) It's Christmas....we've been away a lot! 2) Zak has had Dec. 22-Jan. 2 off of work so we've just been spending lots of time as a family. 3) My really fun Christmas surprise has been keeping feeling gross the past week or so......

We are thrilled about this! I am almost 9 weeks along....and the 'morning' sickness just reminds me that there is a healthy little one growing inside me. :) This is our 4th and most likely FINAL I am relishing every moment of this pregnancy (yes, even the sick

Right now we're getting ready to go away on our annual anniversary trip (thank you mom and dad for taking the kids for us and making it possible!!). 7 years sure did fly by. We've both learned so much and have both grown from our marriage....and still have much more growing to accomplish in the next 7 years (and after!) ;)

Anyway, don't lose faith in this little blog. I will be back in a week with more schooling posts. I'll be starting Before Five in a Row with Asa and Silas (tot trays will be based on the books). I've been working on them so it should be fun. I was going to start with The Snowy Day, but seeing how we have no snow I may have to rethink that! :)

Happy blogging!


Monday, December 19, 2011


Before I start I want to say that I was not asked to write any of this. It is my own personal opinion, and something that has worked for us so great that I wanted to share it with you. :)

I have been wanting to write this post for quite some time to rave about the Ready2Read program that was created by Annie from The Moffatt Girls. I have only great things to say about this program. We have officially completed 4 Units. We did two units and then would have a review week. Annabelle is absolutely flourishing using this. I started looking for something that would be more hands on for her (and help me a little more since I've never taught anyone to read). The units are very easy to put together. I would recommend checking this out if you are looking for something to teach your little one to read. I am very pleased with our results so far.

The first week was a little difficult for Annabelle as it was completely new to her and she didn't quite understand how to sound things out to make a word. She got it during our second week and she has been catching on GREAT ever since then. She loves it when we're reading a book together and I pause at a word that she knows and she gets to read it. :) She has become so confident in sounding things out she's even started to do it with words that we haven't learned yet.

I wanted to show you some things that Annabelle has been doing throughout these last 6 weeks with her reading. I recommend going to The Moffatt Girls site as her posts for each of these units is much more detailed than what I'm showing you here. Everything seen in these pictures comes from the Ready2Read Units.

Reading her word family books. We've been learning 2 word families a week.
Tracing sight words. With this program we've been learning 5 new sight words a week.
This is her favorite activity. She loves this little crack the code at the end of the week.
Word picture match. She reads the word and then matches it to the correct picture.
The same thing, only she traced the words before matching.
Each unit there are sight word mats to decorate. We've used glitter, paint, and play dough. As you can see she enjoys this. lol
Working on her sight word caterpillar.....
She reads and reviews these words every day during our calendar time.
Word family sorts are included in every unit.
This is our word family garden (sans 2 purple flowers). These represent all the words that she can read so far. She's pretty proud of this little garden.
There are a few other aspects of the program that I don't have pictures of. There are color by sight word and word family pictures. Also, color by number sight word flashcards. There is a Read/Trace/Paste sheet for each day of the week. It is a sentence that is read by the student, then traced, then cut out and pasted. Annabelle really likes them.

Just wanted to briefly share something that is working for us. :) Happy blogging!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Week Without TV

It wasn't quite a week....but it felt like it! I think I handled our week unplugged worse than the kids did to be honest. We didn't accomplish much in terms of kindergarten, but we did a WHOLE lot of stuff. It was fun, it was tiring, it was demanding, and we actually have been watching less TV because of it....which is nice! Would I want to do it again, I feel a little whiny saying that....yes. lol All you wonderful families that don't watch TV and still accomplish everything you want to in a day are nothing short of AMAZING!!! I thought I would share a little bit of what our everyday looked like that week (and yes, we did all this stuff and more everyday....see what I mean by tiring?).

We had a great time with play dough in the mornings. I did a more extensive post here (I also received my first snide comment for this post....I left it there you can still read it). :)
We did puzzles.....Silas is doing 24 piece unframed puzzles...he's 2.5....he amazes me! (Sorry for the mommy bragging moment). Annabelle graduated to independently working on 100 piece puzzles this week. This is a picture of them all working on their puzzles.

Even Jude had a good time doing puzzles.
We played charades. Asa is an airplane...can't you tell? lol
We used the Twister mat for a lot of different little games. This one we were finding things that matched the circles color....
The finished mat.....buttons, play food....and a Christmas tree. :)
Silas loved working on this color game. He had a hard time differentiating some of the colors, but he still liked it.
We also did some of our Christmas tot trays.

I saw this really neat idea on Pinterest. It's a giant oil drip pan from Wal-Mart. I got it for $10....and voila....a giant magnet board. No more Silas getting frustrated because he can't fit all the magnets onto a cookie sheet.
We also had a good time with the felt board and the gazillion felt board shapes that I cut out for church (man was that a project!!!).
Pretty proud of their work.
One night Zak and I had a lovely Christmas tree lit picnic. It was nice. :) And yummy.....
This was our last day TV free. Actually Zak was installing it when this picture was taken. Our week without the TV gave us little moments like this that we wouldn't normally have. Just sweet little times of just being together that I really, really enjoyed.
Although I don't know if I am convicted to be completely TV free.....I do know that I used it entirely too much throughout the day to distract/babysit my littles. I would like to think that I am a little more free from that is strange how I had wanted to start using the TV less and less but never did anything about it. I really believe that in a way the Lord used this situation to really make me come to realize that we can make it through the day without it, we can accomplish things without it, and we would be a closer little family with less of it.
......but I guess our world wasn't the same without Shaun the Sheep. lol Happy blogging!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Tot Trays

Well, I guess I'm having a lot of trouble blogging consistently this month. lol I think that it will probably be like that until January. I may even take a little break until then....however, I do have several posts that I'd like to get done before then.

These are some of our Christmas trays for this year. If you want to see what we did last year go here...these posts will have some younger ideas too. We got our printouts from 2 Teaching Mommies, Musings of Me (I do not think these are available anymore, but she has other great printables to check out!), and 1+1+1=1.

Asa has been asking for a roll and graph tray for the last couple of weeks. This is from the 2 Teaching Mommies link.
Counting ornaments and finding the correct numbered star to go with it.
This was a favorite last year....I think that Asa will enjoy it too.
These are some file folder games I put together last year. You can find them at Christian Preschool Printables (a site you could get lost in forever... there are so many great things on it!).
Christmas tree matching from 1+1+1=1.
Stringing jingle bells.
Hammering golf tees. This is a favorite. I glued jewels onto the top of the golf tees to make them look more like ornaments. :)
These little sticker sheets are left over from our church's Sunday School curriculum. It is just sticker matching and could easily be done with any theme related sticker sheets.

Transferring. Silas has really enjoyed this one.
I found these little fabric lights at a garage sale I think. I used them last year with Asa. This year Silas will be using them.
Christmas card mailing station. The Christmas cards match the envelopes. They have to find the matching envelope, stuff them, and then mail them. This is a favorite! :)

We also have our play dough that we've been really enjoying. Happy blogging!


Linking up to 1+1+1=1 and Montessori Monday
Tot School

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Moments to Remember: Backyard Gazing

I am linking up to a new link party this week for the first time. It is hosted by 1+1+1=1 and Homeschool Creations. Feel free to join in! :)

Moments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember.

The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end these are the moments that keep us going, the ones we need to remember.

We didn't do much school this week due to the whole TV debacle so I was trying to figure out a new routine for our day. So we had a lot of fun moments this week. This one just happened this morning and it was such a spontaneous moment and it just made me smile. Not the best picture, but still a nice memory. :)

Annabelle and I were just sitting there talking about the cardinal pair that was sharing the bird feeder. Talking about how boys are bright and girls are not. Silas crawled right up and said, "yook a squirrel". Then we watched the squirrel for a little bit. Nothing crazy, nothing that lasted more than 5 min, but just something that was sweet and stuck out in my head. It was just a nice quiet little moment....and after the whirlwind week I had trying to keep the littles occupied it was just the moment I needed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Countdown

I know that the book countdown has been seen out there in blog world a lot this year. I actually have wanted to do this since last year when I first saw it on Counting Coconuts. So during garage sale season I geared up to find some fantastic Christmas books. I did fairly well. I found a few that are really above their level so I put those aside for later years. I only ordered 5 off amazon and ebay. So I had 20 decent ones! I threw in a couple of snow ones that aren't necessarily about Christmas....I really couldn't justify buying more than 5 books at once. I'll have to wait until next garage sale season to see if I can find more. :)
I wanted to give you my book list in case any of you are interested....I'm a nerd (or maybe just nosy) and always like knowing what other people are reading. I also provided the link in case you want to see them. :)

1) Counting to Christmas 2) The Story of Christmas 3) The Tale of Three Trees 4) Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 5) Christmas in the Barn 6) Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear 7) Come and See 8) The First Night (can't find a link) 9) Christmas in the Big Woods 10) Legend of the Candy Cane 11) The Snowy Day 12) How the Grinch Stole Christmas 13) White Snow, Bright Snow
14) One Baby Jesus 15) The Polar Express 16) The Little Drummer Boy 17) God Gave Us Christmas 18) Room for a Little One 19) Over the River and Through the Woods (didn't find a link) 20) Humphrey's First Christmas (pretty excited about this one) 21) Look Who is Coming to our House 22) A Star for Jesus 23) The Animals Christmas Eve 24) The Night Before Christmas (this is not the exact one we have, but I'm sure they are all the same). 25) The First Christmas According to Luke (for some reason the link is not showing up...sorry)

Sidenote #1: We don't really 'do' Santa. Not that I have anything against him...we treat him like a fun fictional character (like fairies, Cinderella, and talking toys)

Sidenote #2: I had no idea that Over the River and Through the Woods was a Thanksgiving song! I always related it to Christmas. lol

This is our other advent calendar. Each day a box is opened and we hang the character on the hook and read a little bit of the part they played in the first Christmas. :)
Happy blogging!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Way to long of a break: Christmas Play dough

So, it has been WAY to long since my last post. Sorry to all of my friends who missed me. :) We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and I hope that all of you did as well. Getting back into the swing of things here. Working on Dec. tot trays and quickly finishing up what we need to for Annabelle so that we can have a lovely Christmas least from Animal Worlds...we'll probably do math, reading, phonics (things that need to be more repetitive so that she doesn't forget them).

We've had a couple mishaps the last week and a half. One includes an entire bottle of syrup, and the other includes a broken TV. Zak has decided not to replace the TV at the moment as a lesson/punishment to the kids to stop throwing things. So needless to say I've been really busy keeping the kids busy these last few days. I always said I wanted to watch less TV, so I guess now is the perfect opportunity to enforce that and start new habits.

One thing I did manage to make was our Christmas play dough. Isn't it pretty? I rolled in some glitter, and it smells like peppermint. My go to play dough recipe is from My Montessori Journey.
The kids have been having fun with it. This first day they played with it for almost 2 hours!!

Annabelle showing off her creation.....I have no idea what it is. lol
Asa made a Christmas tree and decorated it with jewels.
Silas thought it was hilarious to try to eat it.
This is his fun creation.
This fun time freed me up to be able to do some shipping work that needed to be done. Thanks play dough!!
Happy blogging!

Linking up to Preschool Corner. :)