About Me

I'm a teacher turned stay at home mama. I love finding things to make and do!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Advent Calendar

There were SO many great advent calendar ideas on Pinterest, that it was hard to decide on just one!  I ended up printing this cute little Christmas tree from here, and the blank calendar from here .  I just wrote in an activity for each day.  I have plenty of books from teaching, so we actually read one book and do  one activity each day.  It's nice to have the calendar in front of me, because if I don't have all of the supplies ready for one activity, I can look at another day and do that one.  

One of the first activities we did was a "paint with water" velvet picture. I got this one at Wal-Mart for just under a dollar.  (It's a great idea to go right after Christmas and stock up for next year, since these items go on clearance and they sell out quickly!)

This was a new experience for A, but she got the hang of it quickly.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Yes,  it's been a very long time.  I had decided to start up with some posts again, and I found out I'd reached my limit for photos on blogger...so I got that figured out and I'm back (at least for now)

Little Christmas treats!

I worked with A and we made cards for her teachers.  She's in gymnastics, dance, and has Wednesday night church classes.  I cut some pieces of watercolor paper and let her dip mini cookie cutters into tempera paint and just stamp them all over the paper.  I later folded them into mini cards and wrote a note inside.

After making the cards, she put together little treat bags.  Each bag had mini candy canes, white chocolate peppermint kisses and regular chocolate kisses.  A candy cane was added at the end.  We used these awesome candy cane tags from here  and A wrote her name on the back. 
She really had so much fun assembling these and handing them out.  Such an easy little gift for a little one to give!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cleaning Caddy

A has been asking me all week for a cleaning caddy.  I had asked her if she wanted to make one so she could help Mama clean and she was immediately VERY excited.  While I was cleaning up the kitchen tonight, I realized I hadn't thrown one together yet and that I should round up a few items so they would be ready for this week.  
The fact that everything is blue is totally unintentional...it was what I had on hand.  If I was going to make a caddy specifically for A, everything most definitely would be pink...her favorite color. 

Here's what's in the caddy:
-mini dustpan
-a burp rag, to use for dusting
-a scrubber for scrubbing tile or anything else
-sponge and spray bottle filled with a very small amount of water and a drop of soap for spot cleaning

I have an apron all cut out of fabric to sew for her that I may put in here as well.  I hope she likes it as much as she thought she would!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What day is it?

A used to wake up every morning and ask me, "what day is today?" and then, "what are we going to do today?"  We've done routine charts in the past but they turned out to be too much.  Everything was on a routine card (from breakfast to bedtime), and if we missed something, A would remind me or it would throw her off.  I finally came up with this idea.

The day is at the top.  I choose three items that we will do, in any order for that day.  We do more than this, but these three things help A know the flow of the day and what she can expect to happen next.  There is a Mama or Daddy card at the bottom to tell her who is tucking her in for that night.

The chart is on the back of our kitchen door.  She sees it every morning when she comes down the stairs and she checks it many times throughout the day.  It also helps remind me to do at least three intentional activities with her daily.  I got the routine cards on Etsy (the seller's page is no longer up), and I also used Google images for the activities that weren't included in the packet.  It's working for us!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Olympics group tot school

Another group tot school has come and gone. This time our theme was: OLYMPICS! I was pretty excited, and it was hard choosing between all of the fun activities. Here is what we ended up with: 

Olympic Rings Printing:We used upside down Play-Doh containers to create the Olympic rings.  The original idea uses toilet paper tubes, found here.

Do-a-dot Olympic rings: Printable from Making Learning Fun.

Create a sailboat and see if it floats: We used recycled baby food tubs, play dough, straws, tape and foam stickers to decorate.  This was located next to a full kitchen sink so the kids could see if their boats floated.

A few extra indoor activities were:
Two sorting trays

Two "What Comes Next?" trays
(both from part one of the 3 Dinosaurs Summer Olympics Pack)

and an Olympic matching game
(found here. Click on her TPT link on the left...it's free!)

OUTSIDE: everyone got a score sheet and there were markers at each station to fill in each section

Basketball: best out of ten

Throwing mini-beach balls through a hula hoop into a basket (shot put?)
(keep track of how many you got into the basket)

I saw this idea in a Family Fun magazine.  You take pool noodles (mine were from the Dollar Tree) and hook them onto chopsticks that are stuck in the ground.  So fun!
(write how many times you jumped over a hurdle.  A chose to do this again and again and again!)

Soccer: best out of ten

Balance Beam
checklist of skills(walk with one foot in front of the other, turn around, bend your knees, walk to the end and hop off, etc.)

Snack: ice cream cone and popcorn torches
(our friends provided strawberries, blueberries and juice boxes!)
I'm already working on next month's activities!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Love Books Exchange

The Educators' Spin On It

We recently participated in a book/activity exchange through The Educator's Spin On It.  It was so much fun!  We got our package from Michelle and her kiddos over at Having Fun at Chelle's House!  It was amazing!!

We got the book  Harold and the Purple Crayon along with all of these fun activities:

Purple/Not Purple sort
A really liked the purple ring from this.  You can see her wearing it in the other pictures!  :)

1-10 numbered moons 
We lined them up in order (because she will not stand for anything out of order!) and she hopped from one number to the next as we counted.

1-10 numbered moons and crayons
She put the correct number of crayons on each numbered moon

Purple Star Crayon (how cool is this?)

Pom Pom transfer with tongs

Sandpaper and string
We practiced making shapes with the string.  There was a little card with suggestions, "can you make a square?" etc. 

Lacing Moon
I let her do this any way she wanted at first, then we practiced again and I showed her how to lace from hole to hole in order. 

Baby Sister even got an activity!  She really loved pulling the fabric squares out of the wipes container.  I'd been meaning to make this for her and now I don't have to!  

A actually wanted to make this with me.  I was surprised since she has never shown an interest in eating Jell-O.  She was very excited and then I gave her a little bowl.  She had fun stirring it, but then told me, "Mama can eat it."   Ha!  We tried!  At least I enjoyed eating it.  

Blank Books and doodle cards
We haven't gotten to these yet.  The idea is to write stories/pictures in the books and the doodle cards are for us to pick a card and then draw a picture that includes the doodle. 

We also got purple play dough that I didn't get a photo of, but A was very excited to play with it!

This was so much fun and Michelle provided us with so many activities we threw half of them in our tot school drawers and A played with them for days.  I still have the other half to switch them out with.  We'd love to be a part of this again!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Group Tot School: Fourth of July

Today we hosted group tot school for June.  It was a Fourth of July theme.  We had lots of fun with our friends!
Making bracelets out of  pipe cleaners and beads
Some children were patient enough to sit and make a pattern (red-white-blue)

Matching star stickers to the colored x's

Tonging sparkly pom poms from a bowl into a star ice cube tray

Sparkly play dough
(white play dough with red, white and blue glitter)

U.S.A. Puzzle

I only got a couple photos from outside this time around.  The outside activities were:
Fourth of July Action Cards
Red, White and Blue Sidewalk Chalk
Delivering number mail/color mail
Golf Ball Fireworks painting with foam star stickers
Fingerprint Flag
Our friends provided blueberries, strawberries and bunny grahams for snack.  
We can't wait until the next one!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer 2012

I finally sat down and printed out our Summer 2012 fun list!  Here's what's on the list:

Jamba Juice    
 French Bakery     
blow bubbles    
Swimming pond     
ride bikes     
State Fair
 splash pad     
MLB baseball game     
build a fort    
 visit grandparents out of state     
trolley ride
 water balloons    
 group tot school     
visit parks     
splish splash play dates    
 book exchange     
 strawberry picking     
swim lessons    
 try gymnastics    
 finger paint    
 farmer's market    
 Sonic Happy Hour    
 play at Auntie's    
 finish baby sister's room     
Pizza date
  blow BIG bubbles   
  bubble wrap painting    
 walk with Daddy   
  play in tent outside 
    Tutti Frutti
 write a letter to Minnie  
   board games   
  take lots of pictures

We'll see how many things we get done this year!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Just LOOK at that tripod grip!  I can't believe how quickly she has caught on.  A few weeks ago, I posted about our workbooks and A's lack of pencil grip here.   She has gotten SO much better at it!  She still loves her Kumon books and is excited to work on them.  It's probably because we only do one page a day.  I'm going to have to start brainstorming more goals for the summer!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Group Tot School!!

We had our first group tot school today! I found the idea over at The Shafer Family.
(though I couldn't imagine taking in 20 families at a time!!!) 
We had five pairs of kids and mamas.  It was perfect.  I went with a farm theme.  We had five outside activities and five inside activities.  Here are they are!
Sensory Bin: find the pairs of teeny tiny animals and put them into the basket
(Inspired by Playing House in Maryland .)

Decorate a plastic cup and plant flower seeds
(this station also came with a take-home sheet for kids to track the progress of their plant and keep track of how many days they water it and keep it in the sun.  From Homemade Preschool .)

Egg Sorting:
Kids balance an egg onto a spoon and walk across the grass to the two bins.  They choose which bin their egg goes in, big or small.

Cow Roll and Color:
Roll the die, count the dots and color the corresponding spot.  From Making Learning Fun .)

Do-A-Dot page:
Kids cover each dot with a Do-A-Dot marker.  From Making Learning Fun.)

Animal Matching:
Sort animals by number of feet.  Match animal figurines to picture cards, letter cards and word cards.  (this is something I made on my own)

Puzzles and song:
I had a few puzzles that went along with the "Five Little Ducks" song.

Feed the Pig game:
Choose a card, read the number and feed the pig that number of kernels.  From Our Country Road .)

Seed sorting:
Observe seeds with magnifying glass.  Sort into three bowls.  Found at PreKinders .)

Cutting wooden fruits, vegetables and bread:
(Melissa and Doug set)

We even had toys (inside and outside) for the little siblings!

We ended our tot school with an Old McDonald song where each child was able to pull an animal from a paper bag.  You can find that printable here.  We also had a snack that one of our friends provided.

I was really pleased with how smoothly it went.  The kids were very engaged, and everyone was very respectful of the materials and put each tray back the way they found it.   The kids and Mamas seemed to enjoy themselves.  A even enjoyed playing with the materials after everyone was gone.  An additional perk is that I now have tot trays for the week!  We're looking forward to the next group tot school!