Sunday, November 23, 2014

Train Unit Lapbook

While we were packing to get ready to head out of town for two weeks I was thinking.  I am going to need something to keep these two high energy kids busy during Thanksgiving Day.

Of course I could have turned to Pinterest to find a Thanksgiving learning and fun activities.  But today is for my little guy.  He would not be interested in Thanksgiving activities.

So I pulled out what he loves.


I printed off several activities from this unit.

  • Pattern Trains
  • Number Train
  • Rainbow Experss
  • Shape Train Cargo Match
  • Count and Fill Tank Car
  • Tracks Play-Dough Mat
  • Number Puzzles

I chose to leave everything black and white.  Little man can color anything if he wants.  Also, I was running out of time.  

I laid everything out on the file folder and started gluing envelopes to store pieces.  Then I assembled the Rainbow Express and stapled it onto the book.  I cut and folded all the pieces and put them in the envelopes.  I covered anything that I wanted to be wipe-away with clear packing tape.  

To keep the middle train in place I added a train gate to keep it in place when not in use.  

The back of the folder I glued an envelope at the bottom to hold the number puzzle pieces.  Then I taped on a sheet protector.  The sheet protectors hold the number puzzle pieces in place as well as has space for wipe away activities.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tell Me About It Tuesday: Sue Hooley's 2015 Daily Planner

I was blessed with the opportunity to review Sue Hooley's 2014 and 2015 Daily Planner.

Here is a peek inside the 2015 planner.


As you can see it has TONS of room to plan out everything you have going on in your hectic, chaotic, bustling life.  You can write out the menu for the whole week right there on the weekly view and keep track of everything you want to get done using the task list.  

Here are some great little features.  On the monthly view there is a dotted line you can cut away to make month tabs.  Here on the weekly view you can cut or fold the corner to mark what week you are on.  

The 2015 planner also has other tabs behind the weekly view for Tasks, Projects, Info and Shopping. 

Tasks:  Two columns perfect for all those To-Do lists with a line across the top for a title.  I have a page for blog post ideas.  There are enough pages to dedicated one page per month for that month's goals and to do lists and still have other pages for other task lists.  In the 2015 planner these columns extend the full width of the page!

Projects:  This is much like the Tasks section but it has 2 sections, top and bottom, instead of columns.  In 2015 these are not boxes, they are just sections.  Great for project notes, notes from small groups you may be part of, recipes, or notes from a church service.  

Info: Name, Number and Address.  Great for keeping track of all those blogging contacts, babysitters and play-date mom's.  

Shopping:  Perforated three column shopping list.  Tear and go.

Folder pocket in the back to keep all receipts or note cards.  

I could easily keep track of what I was posting on the blogs, what we had going on at the gym and church, what we were doing during school time, what we were eating, and what I was reading in the bible.  Here take a look.


As you can see this is a picture from the 2014 planner.  The color scheme, cover and fonts are different in 2015.  It is a nice earth tone!  The fonts are bolder and easier to read.  The day and date are moved to the left instead of centered.  

Ascetically the 2015 planner is different, but the foundation of the 2014 and 2015 calendar are the same.

What I liked about the planner: 
- For those with lives that don't fit into perfect little time slots this is great that the day portions are just open.  It's perfect for the less Type A person.
- Encouraging scripture on each week.
- Room for our menu each week (when I take the time to plan it.)

I will still be able to do all of these things in 2015.  While learning 52 promises from God!  Thank you Sue!

To get yours head on over to Homemakers Friend.  It is 13.99 with 3.50 shipping and handling.  




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Lapbook

So I have found this new obsession love.  I keep seeing all these amazing interactive notebooks.  I wanted to know more about interactive notebooks.  That was my first mistake.  That is how I stumbled upon ...

Lapbooks

Lapbooks are these amazing things that fit into a file folder.  They are interactive and custom.  They really work for any age.  The older the kids are the more custom they are.  This is the one I made for my 4 year old.  



Yes she could have done the coloring and the gluing.  However, she didn't even know I was making it for her today and she just loved it.  

Once I figured out what I wanted to included it was pretty easy to put together. 

Creating the flaps was much easier than I was fearing.  You simply fold the edges to the middle creating a new way of opening.  I have found that this is called a 'shutter fold'.  It basically divides the folder into fourths.  

I am already thinking of all sorts of other things that we can do with these.  The back of this one I added a pumpkin patch play mat.  A small file folder type game can be on the back and the pieces stored inside.  

That Pp flap there on the bottom is covered in packing tape so that we can use it over and over again. Under the flap is a blank area for all the words she can think of that starts with the p sound.  An area to draw or write.  When it gets full or need to add room for my (almost) 3 year old I can just add paper on top.

I love just love it!  

I am already dreaming up ideas for Christmas ones.  

Do you love it?  Do you want one?  It's free right now over at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Friday, October 10, 2014

Haunted House Tutorial

There have been way to many changes going on in our household than I would like to admit.  That being said - preschool time had been put on the back, back burner.  Now that there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel and not a train coming right at us things will get back on the right track.  {Oh ... pardon the pun}

I am looking forward to all the fun Halloween stuff I have planned to do with them over the next couple of weeks.  I know I have lost some of you right there.  Yes, we are Christians and yes, we let our children partake in Halloween.  But, I digress.

You are here to see how we made our "Haunted House with Pockets" for all these fun little ghost games we are going to play.


First of all what are we going to be doing with this house?  Many, many matching games.  Matching games for numbers, letters, colors, shapes, rhymes, and phonics.  We might even give some math a shot - addition, subtraction and even place values.

To make the haunted house you will want to gather your supplies.
  • Contact Paper
    (The ugly stuff hidden in a closet - now is the time to use it since you just need the huge sticker it provides.)
  • Black Construction Paper (3 sheets of 12 x 18 is what I used)
  • 1 Sheet Protector
  • Permanent Marker
  • Scissors
  • Tape


  1. Gather supplies (listed above)
  2. Cut 2 sheets of contact paper the same size (roughly 18 by 24). Cover one sheet with 2 sheets of black construction paper.
  3. Draw yourself a house on the ugly side.  Be sure to include the windows and doors.  See how I changed my mind in the middle of that house.  It is okay!  That's the back and will ultimately be covered with another piece of contact paper.
  4. Cut carefully.  Cut the house out completely.  When cutting windows and doors you want them to stay attached so they will open can close during game time.
  5. If you are only using the haunted house for one skill, lets say colors, cover the openings with colored paper - taping it in place.  Use the other sheet of contact paper to cover the back and trim.  Done!
But you are here for pockets!  Let's keep going!

  1. With pretty side up (the black side) trace your haunted house on to the backing paper of the second piece of contact paper.  Trace all openings.  Set this aside again for now.
  2. Cut the sheet protector to cover all the openings on the ugly side of the haunted house.  
  3. Tape and secure in place. This is the front of the pocket.  
  4. Back to the second sheet.  Cut slits above your traced openings about 1/2 an inch above the traced cut out.

    for some reason I missed pictures of the next steps and I want to apologize.

  5. Carefully remove the backing paper from the contact paper and cover any area where an opening will be with construction paper. I choose to use black as to not distract when I am using the game later.
  6. Line up the two pieces. This is frustrating and might make you want to say bad words in front of your kids if it folds up or doesn't line up right the first time. {Okay that is just me ... fiddlesticks}  If this happens I was able to carefully pull apart the pieces and realign.  
  7. Smooth all over.  You may need to tape the areas by the doors to make sure they stay closed securely.
Game pieces will be made here over the next few days and I will share them when they make an appearance.  

Interested in what we are doing for preschool during Halloween?  





Take them for a test drive!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Homeschool Preschool in Tiny Spaces

If you have been around the blog here for any length of time you may have heard that I am currently living with my in-laws.

If it were not for the set up of their house it would have be working as well as it is.  When I say well, it's not like Keith and I are not both daily - okay how much longer God?  We also recently closed out our storage unit - we were tired of storing stuff we didn't want anymore.  We blessed several families with our goodies and saved ourselves quite a bit of cash.  That meant though that I had to bring more stuff into our already tiny space.

We are also homeschooling preschool and we just didn't have a dedicated space to do things.  I was constantly having piles of stuff everywhere and toys lined the room.

So I made some changes. That were all spurred by one comment on this picture I posted on Instagram.

Would love to see how you set up your week.  -- umm, how can I show that? I take pictures of what we do, but there is really no set up or set out stuff.  Because we had no dedicated space. 

Until now.  Let me present our preschool corner!


The space itself is oh, 5 by 7, 6 by 8 - It's tiny.  There is enough room for me and the kids to closely work.  Not only does this corner now work for preschool.  It barricades a lot of my mother-in-laws stuff to keep it safe.  

Now for our tour.  


As you can see on the picture these things are on top of a set of plastic white drawers.  This bad boy needs its own post.  This is the Barbie command post.  Dolls, accessories, furniture - it's all in there.  It is not really in the preschool corner but it makes a good top shelf for these small things.


And although you can't really see it, behind this writing desk looks like a white set of shelves.  Well that is our Barbie house.  So the Barbie drawers need to be there too.


Then comes the tiny centers area.  In the most GHETTO, most unique cheapest storage shelving unit known to man.  You can't really see them, but on top there are two little buckets with chalk and dry erase markers for the writing center.

The top of this storage unit will also be where I keep our science center items as we use them for the week.


Then there is our work table.  As we are using the corner we are finding out that we need more light back here.  And we are finding out that Little Mister prefers to do work at the desk than the table.


More tiny centers with storage.


This final picture is on top of the quiet time drawers.  It is a great place for me to stick all the stuff that we are going to need for the week and just take one day to get as much of it together as I can.


Some people might think that it is a little looney to dedicate this space to school time.  But it is used for way more than just when we "play school".  It is used when we pull out playdough after nap.  It is used when Little Miss wants to play with "bigger girl" toys.  It is used for puzzles.

But moving things to this corner we were also able to spread things out into the rest of the room and separate playtime when needed.

I think the biggest blessing of living here is that I could honestly say that I don't need a big house to be happy.

Feel free to pose any questions about our corner or homeschooling preschool below!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tell Me About It Tuesday: One Holiday at a Time - Child Please!


That is a beautiful Fall image.  As this quickly approaches Hubsy and I were talking about our busy season  and Christmas - specifically where we are going to move toys to set up the tree.

"Well, you are going to want to put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving."

UMMM ... NOVEMBER 1st is more like it.  I love Christmas, it just makes me happier.  When I am having a bad day (like today) I will play Christmas music to lift my spirits.

I said, "but of course! You are lucky that I don't put it up November 1st!"  Then he laid my most hated disliked phrase on me.  "One holiday at a time.  Give each one the respect it deserves."  He continued to explain that just because I am not a fan of Thanksgiving that it's important to others.

Listen I get it.  Thanksgiving is that day of the year that we all get together to be thankful for each other and all the things the year has brought us.  blah blah blah (and if you love Thanksgiving and all it brings and this offends you I am sorry)

I choose to be Thankful for what God has given me DAILY.  I try to live a life of Thanksgiving. So for me, and I know this is just me, Thanksgiving is just a day to get through to get to Christmas.
Oh believe me I am thankful for my family, I am thankful for all the things that God gives me.  I am THANKFUL I won't get the "It's not even Thanksgiving!" crap anymore.  (Sorry for my bluntness - but don't put your disdain for Christmas on me.)  I am thankful that I get to sit with my hubby on a Thursday and watch a day of football.  Even if it causes more arguments than fried or roasted turkey!

When you live a life of GRATITUDE you don't need a specific day to tell the people you love you are thankful for them.

Rant over.  :)  I am off to decorate the Christmas tree.

Monday, July 28, 2014

{ABD} - Summer Style

{ABD} - I know I haven't written about them much lately -- mainly because we haven't been doing them.  {After Bed Dates} -- These started because we put dates on the back burner to revamp our finances and babysitting is the most expensive thing about dating.

July 3rd was a very cool (temperature) wise.  Keith and I had been talking about how one of these evenings we just need to relax with a drink and unwind.

We both are fighting off a pretty serious funk.  We are both stressed about things here at home and with our jobs.  I think we are both fighting off a mid-life crisis.

So I ran to the store and picked up some of those freeze and drink pouches.  He set up the fire.  We were ready to relax.


I love my coffee cups and gave up drinking coffee.  My thought is .. use them for everything.  Especially Lime Margarita on the rocks.


We were enjoying our evening.  Time with each other and relaxing.  We were not even joined by anyone other than this guy.

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