Thursday, August 30, 2012

Monster Puppets

On our trip to Fort Benning, O watched 'Monster's Inc.' and I think that's why she wanted to make puppet monsters today.  She asked to make them after we got home from the store with a plain paper sack.  I saw her eyeballing it at the store as well, and could practically see the wheels turning in her little head.

So, we made puppets.  She insisted I make Mike and she make Sully/Kitty.

It took her about 15 minutes to make the puppet and then she realized it needed horns.  She shouted, "I know."  Then, she jumped out of her chair and ran to get some Andes mints I had.   She had two in her hand, and said, "we can each eat one, then I can use the wrappers for the horns."  Clever little kid.  She knows how to get what she wants....just offer mommy candy--haha.

The finished product.

A close up of the horns.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Several weeks ago, O told me she wanted her hair fancy.  She tried to explain it to me, and I didn't understand.  She walked away frustrated, and came back a few minutes later with this picture of what she wanted her hair to look like.  Of course.  I see a ponytail off to the side.  "Ok O, I will try"

After several attempts this is what we came up with.

She had actually drawn braids and wanted them on each side.  Ah Yes.  How could I have missed that?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We have counters....and lots of them.  Mixing up what we use to count with gives more interest to counting and can assist with a theme that O is interested in.
Sometimes we use just one color, and other times we use all the colors.  Sometimes we use the light table, and other times we just use the counter.

Here are some other things we have used as counters:
Stones usually used for decor 
Stones found on a walk to the park
Popsicle sticks

Monday, August 27, 2012

48 Hours

Happy Reunion...

With lots of nose kisses...

And Being Silly...

Napping on Daddy...

 Reading With Daddy...

Silly Smiles...

Last Minute Snuggles....

Almost Time To Go...

 See you soon F.  We Can't Wait!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

You Know You're An Army Wife When.....

*Your husband shows YOU how to fold clothes

*Your husband knows how to make a bed the 'correct' way better than you do

*You have your phone fully charged, volume up, and with in arms reach every second of every day

*You think nothing of video chatting with your husband and having him turn the computer so you can see his roommate's computer, therefore seeing his wife or projects she is working on

*You stop asking what people's first names are and just accept that everyone is called by their last name

*You and your daughter's favorite time of day is when it is time to get the mail, and the postal workers know you by name

*Your husband's attire not only costs more than yours but also has more accessories

*You catch yourself using military time and the phonetic alphabet to civilians and see the 'deer in the headlight' expression on their face

*You know your husbands social security number better than your own, and when people ask for yours you are surprised

*You jump at the chance to spend 26 hours (roundtrip) in a van with a preschooler to see your husband for 48 hours.

We are off to  Fort Benning for the weekend to spend a much anticipated 48 hours with our Officer Candidate.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Van Ride Chats

It never seems to fail, when we climb in the van O always ask the most intriguing questions.  This is what happened today...

We were listening to our favorite Christian radio station.

O:  Mommy, they are singing about their Jesus

Me:  Yes they are.  They love him.

O:  Does everyone have their own Jesus?

Me:  No, we all serve the same Jesus.  Some people love Jesus.  Some people do not love Jesus.

O:  We should tell the people who don't love love Jesus, they should love him.

Me:  You are right!  The Bible tells us we should go out and tell everyone about Jesus.  What would you tell people about Jesus?

O:  I would say, 'love him because he loves us and helps us make good choices.'

Matthew 21:16

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
    you have ordained praise’[a]?”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How I Organize Our Home School

I realize that you can Google "home school organization ideas" and will get about 800,000 sites you can check out.  There are dozens of great resources to help with this.  I chose this method (which I basically came up with on my own, with some minimal inspiration from the 'workbox' method) because I do not have very much space to work with.  All of O's school supplies are in my bedroom on 2 shelves.  Everything.  That includes crafts, paper, books, manipulatives, and so on.  We have minimal space.

So without further ado, here we go....

I removed our basket that has our daily work in it so you can see to the back of the shelves.
In the far back I have all of our supplies.  Glue sticks, paint dobbers, counters, chalk, buttons, etc, are in the tall compartment on the left.  The middle plastic compartment holds bigger items.  1 drawer is for markers, 1 for glue bottles and glitter, and the bottom drawer is for letter punch outs and scissors.
Moving to the right our hundreds board is in the yellow box, and our supply of paper.  We have too much paper, because I got it for free.  Next time, I will say 'no thanks' :)

 This is a picture of our daily work basket put on the shelf.  

The second shelf has all of my teacher books on the left, an index card box that holds all of our 3-part cards, and totes.  Lots of totes.  It is how I organize everything.  I have 3 gallon totes for the following:

Math (I originally had the clock in the math tub, and have since moved it to the daily work)

 Flash Cards (which by the way are not used as standard flash cards for memorization)

(And totes without pictures)
Stuff for me to teach (lesson ideas, unfinished printables that I have printed but have not cut/organized
These totes contain all of the supplies we have that are not currently using.  

Next, I have 5 shoe box sized totes.  In these totes, I put everything I will need for 1 week of school work.  This includes the lesson plan, all the supplies and manipulatives I will need. (Minus the green basket that we use everyday and every week)

Here is what we did week 3 of school

(Almost)  All of this fits into the shoebox container.  

The Cuisenaire rods, pink/blue metal insets, alphabet bingo and velvet alphabet book were all purchased.

I made the sandpaper letters.  

I have a teacher's book that has letters and pictures that I printed off for each letter.  They all fit in an envelope to stay organized.  I also made another set of textured letters out of Elmer's glue and acrylic paint (because O does not like the feeling of sandpaper or rubbing her finger across it)

More flashcards.  Before the first week of school I went through my lesson plans and pulled out flashcards that corresponded with the letters we focused on for each week.  That makes it easy for me to start Monday on the right foot.  I don't have to go searching for anything.  It's already in the tote.

Each month we focus on an artist and a composer.  August has been Leonardo Da Vinci, and Gustav Holst.  It isn't anything major, just introducing her to the arts.  We look at artwork, we color a replica of the artwork.  For the composer we listen to his music during school time and usually pick up a library book on the composer to learn about his life.

Do-A-Dot letters.  I have these for each letter.  In 3 weeks we've done 3 letters with the paint dobbers, and we have reviewed 12 letters.  O is not interested in this work, so we don't do it often.

This is my lesson plan for the week.  It is not completely filled in for a reason :)
When O finds something interesting (such as when she was in love with all things Brave,) we can focus on those things  With a little creativity, anything can be educational.  This week O asked what was inside a tree that makes it grow, and if any of the planets were purple.    

These readers are not in the shoebox, but we use readers frequently.  O feels like what she is reading is important and has context, so she enjoys practicing reading with these.  We use a variety of them.  some have pictures the child 'reads' and some have words for the parent and words for the child, and then others are repetitive.

These paper pentagons are a spinoff of the knobbed cyliners, pink staircase, and broad stairs.  Since I do not have space for all of these, we use the paper cut outs to learn size discrimination.  It is not perfect, I am well aware, but it works.

More 3-part cards.  This one is about transportation.

Our Bibles we use, and our Bible verse for the week.  These are both placed in our green basket.

I am trying something new with our Bible.  I am still a little reluctant to, because I don't want to come across as a 'pharaoh' always saying "You did something wrong, go look in the Bible."  I am hoping to be able to say, "God loves when you...." just as often.  I have some verses highlighted to help remind us of what God wants us to do.

At the end of each week, I take everything out of our tote, and place the items back into the larger 3-gal totes that hold the supplies we're not using.  Each empty tote gets moved to the bottom of the stack and awaits to be filled at our 5 week mark.  

Whew, that was long :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Montessori Makeover

The Montessori version is simplistic, and pretty, and the weight of the spindles seems to be just right for little hands.  It is also can cost around $45, which is not in my budget.

I do not claim that mine is as beautiful, or lovely, but it does serve the same purpose, and mine cost $7.
I found mini-tackle boxes/craft boxes at Walmart in clearance section for $3 each.  They have 6 compartments which gives us an extra one to store our spindles in.  I also picked up a package of neon straws for $.97 and cut them to fit into the compartments.   I already had address labels at home, that I used to write the numbers on, and stuck them on the inside of the compartments.  

 I will say I do like that mine have lids, and are much smaller than the wooden spindle sets.  This makes storage a little easier.  Since our spindles are straws O has had to practice to find the correct amount of pressure to grasp the straws without bending them (obviously, good for fine motor).  I also have the freedom of switching out the color of straws or replacing them with toothpicks or cut up dowel rods or crayons.   

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Balloon Painting

This idea came from my college days in preschool classrooms.  
I gave O the choice of painting with balloons or doing some multi-medium artwork with paint and pastels.  She enthusiastically chose the balloons.  
It began well enough.  3 paint colors with coordinating balloons.

She enjoyed painting with balloons for a grand total of 4 minutes.  She smeared the balloons across the page (interestingly, she drags stamps across the page too after just a few minutes of stamping the correct way).  She mixed a few colors, then asked if she could paint with her fingers.

Maybe she will like activity in a few months.  We will have to try it again later.