Monday, December 17, 2012

We Have 2 Winners!

Congratulations to our Holiday Giving winners!

Giveaway #1 featuring Forking Queen
Winner:  Alicia K

Giveaway #2 featuring Aalbers Creations
Winner:  Rachel M. 

Thanks to all who entered and WELCOME to those of you who are new!
I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

Winners have been contacted.  
In the event they do not respond, 
new winners will be chosen Wednesday morning.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Giving (A Giveaway) #2

  Be sure to head over there and get the back story on both this and that giveaway.

Holiday Giving (A Giveaway) #2
One Item of Your Choice (up to $40 value) 
from Aalbers Creations shop on Etsy.

So, this is my sister Kimberly!  Over the past 3 years she has created herself a business doing exactly what she loves.  Using 1000x more creativity than I was ever born with, she makes beautiful accessories for girls and their mom's and then travels the Renaissance fair circuit donning her wares (okay, super cheesy, I know, but that is what she does).  

Every item you'll find on her Etsy page is hand-sewn, hand-painted, or self-designed.  She dresses her girls in all her own creations, and they beg her to give them painted fairy faces almost every day.  Looking around you'll find a huge range of items from wings and fairy costumes...

Childrens Dragonfly Butterfly Fairy Costume Wings Children's Pink and Blue Fairy Butterfly Tutu Dress Wings Crown Package

to play tents and crowns...

Children's  Blue/Orange Fairytale Play Circus Tent Children's Felt Pink Flower Princess Headband Crown

to leg warmers and bibs...

Infant/Children's Rainbow Fuzzy Leg Warmers Quilted Tie Dye Cloth Baby Bib

I know you'll love looking through her shop on Etsy!  Check out the entry form below and let me know what you would choose!

Haven't checked out Holiday Giving (A Giveaway #1) yet?  
Head over there now and get your entries in!

Giveaway being sponsored across my blogging gamut.  
All entry forms will be combined to choose one winner for each giveaway.

Prizes are being offered at no cost or benefit to me.  Just a good sisterly deed.

Holiday Giving (A Giveaway) #1

We started December with good intentions of giving service this month and focusing on other people instead of ourselves and I think we've been doing okay.  After delivering our mailbox treats we've brought our neighbor's trash bins back up to the house on trash day, chose chores to help each other out with in our own house, and helped all the "big guys" put away chairs after church on Sunday.  Today, I want to offer two-fold service by supporting two of my sisters and their businesses and giving you the chance to win something fun and beautiful for the holidays!

Holiday Giving Giveaway #1
(okay, I tried to find a picture of my sister Brooke to post,
 but 1) I couldn't and 2) she would have killed me! :)

One item of your choice at
(up to $50 value, or $50 credit can be used 
towards 1 item of higher value)

Forking Queen is the business my sister Brooke started doing about 7 years ago.  She started out creating unique silverware jewelry pieces like these:

Bent Fork BraceletFork RingClassic Silverware Watch

Now she's expanded with a "Leather and Lead" brand:

Bullet Boot Bracelet BeadedLeather Western WatchLeather Boot Jewelry

and some other really beautiful things! 

 Take a look around her Etsy shop and then get your entries for an item (up to $50 value) in below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ready to win a second prize?  
Be sure to enter our Holiday Giving (A Giveaway) #2!

Giveaway being sponsored across my blogging gamut.  
All entry forms will be combined to choose one winner for each giveaway.

Prizes are being offered at no cost or benefit to me.  Just a good sisterly deed. 

Card Game Math

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that we had started working on addition and was worried about doing it right.  Since then, I've found a couple ways to make the "plus 1, plus 2," fun.  Today I'm sharing a variation on the classic "Go Fish."

First, we decided how many cards to play with.  My poor little guy could not quite fit 7 cards in his hand, so we settled on 5.  Even then, it was a bit of a struggle and we had a good lesson on spreading out the cards.

Instead of asking for matches, like in regular "Go Fish", the object of this game was to ask for the "+1".  Beck had to look at the cards in his hand and then ask me for a card that would equal his card plus one.  It took a lot of concentrating and turned into a good lesson on sequencing as he started at one side of his hand of cards and thought about the +1 for each card all the way across.

Similar pictures, I know, but this is pretty much how he looked the whole time we were playing
At first we were only laying down cards when we had a "+1".  For example, if he had a 2 and asked me for a 3, he would lay down that pair.  It was taking forever.  So we started looking for "+1's" in our hand before asking the other player.  It helped to be able to lay down "+1" pairs before we even asked the other person. And even though we were replenishing our hands to 5 after each turn, the game went much, much faster!

You might be able to tell from the look on his face that Beck didn't really like this game.  He started out confused why he couldn't ask for matches, got frustrated when he couldn't spread out and see all his cards, and then just got bored.  But, I think it's a great way to work on his math skills and we should be able to adapt it for "+2" and "+3" as well.  First, I'll definitely figure out a way to make holding the cards a little easier!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cool New Website Find

Tiny Post #3

I found a fantastic new website and blog this week that just make me happy!

Did the song start playing in your head as soon as you read the name?  I've walked around all week brushing my hands over my nose in what must look like swatting a fly.  I love it!

The website has really good ideas for schooling and parenting and just having fun with your kids, AND great giveaways.  I can say that because I won TWO of them this week!  These are the things on the way to my mailbox...

12 Days of Christmas Fold-Out Book
Post image for 12 Days of Christmas: The WINNER

Zoob Building Set
Post image for ZOOB Building Set: Christmas Toy Review and GIVEAWAY

Go check them out (  I think you'll like it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Time For Gingerbread

My kids and I alike have found that we have little patience for making actual gingerbread houses. Later in the season we will make mini graham cracker models, but I can admit it's not quite the same. A few years ago I discovered these cute paper gingerbread houses, though, and now they have a loving place all their own each year on our Christmas tree.

Gingerbread Houses
Eating the Nibbly Bibs
Eating the Nibbly Bibs
Eating the Nibbly Bibs

Head over to We Love To Illustrate to download these adorable templates.

What is your gingerbread tradition?

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Series of Little Posts

It's holiday time and try as I might, I can't help being busy.  Perhaps you'll appreciate a few upcoming tiny posts from me-short writing, shorter reading. They're going to go a little like this...

Handwriting Practice

Click here for Dear Santa Template 

What creative ways do you get your kids to practice their letters?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Giving: Our Surprise in the Mailbox

I wrote on my other blog a few weeks ago about how much I DREAD the arrival of the holiday toy catalogs in the mail.  The moment they enter the front door is the last moment I have any quiet until Christmas is over. The air is constantly filled with, "I want, I want, I want!!!"  Leading up to Thanksgiving, I try to help everyone in our family to focus on the blessing of things we have instead of things we want.  It is usually pretty successful, and if I try hard to carry that over through the Christmas season, the "I Want's" die down to a manageable rate.

Throughout December the boys and I  focus our thoughts and energy on the simplicity of giving to other people instead of the intensity of keeping our Santa lists up-to-date.  This has been one of our favorite activities...

Eating the Nibbly Bibs

The Recipients:  The people who live on our street
The Activity:  Make & Deliver a small treat 
The Goal:  Add a joyful surprise to the mundane task of getting the mail.

Here's how we did it:

First, we counted out 10 chocolate squares, & 10 candy canes, then glued the top of the chocolate squares...

Eating the Nibbly Bibs

 ...and put the candy canes on top...

Next we tied ribbon around the candy "package". I would advise making sure the ribbons are long enough for a new knot-tier and then trim them up.

 Always let the kids choose a comfortable place to work...

The last step in creating our mailbox surprises was cutting out the tags and tying them on top. I used these tags, but also really liked these ones...

Eating the Nibbly Bibs
Eating the Nibbly Bibs


My boys understand the concept of doing nice things for other people, but still, they're young.   I did want them to feel the reward at the end and had promised they could have some after we'd made our deliveries.  Still they were whine and beg to eat chocolate and candy canes. My ears bleed with the racket and I almost always prematurely decide the activity was an epic fail.  BUT, the minute we walk out the door, their whole attitude changes!  They get giddy, running from mailbox to mailbox and wanting to make SURE they don't miss anybody.  They get sad when a mailbox is empty, because that means the neighbor has already picked up their mail for the day.  I've caught them peeking out the window the next day to make sure those people get their goodies!

Eating The NibblyBibs

 I'd love to hear how you help your little ones understand the joy of giving or have you share this post with someone looking to add more giving into their holiday season!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Math Ideas, Anybody?

We started working on addition today by marking out a number line on the floor.

Of course, the Grinch had to be involved.
 Math is my least favorite subject, and I'm worried about passing my dislike on to my boys. 

 What fun ideas do you have for teaching math to kids?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Who Home Schools? My Interview on Hammock Tracks

I recently came across a great Homeschooling blog called Hammock Tracks and am excited to participate in  their weekly feature, Who Home Schools?.

Please click on the Hammock Tracks button below to read my interview, and then spend some time there looking around!  I'd especially recommend hooking up with her "It's a Wrap; My Weekly Take Away" Link-up.

Thanks, again, Savannah, for the chance to share a little about our school with you!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mail from...Massachusetts (Happy Thanksgiving)

My first job away from home was on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, south of Boston.  While there I fell in love with New England.  Fortunately I still have all my photos from then because we haven't received our Massachusetts postcard.  It was fun this week looking through them with Beck.  And, of course he wanted to know if I saw a Black-Headed Chickadee (the Massachusetts State Bird) while I was there.  I can't say that I remember specifically that I did...
Sorry I'm not posting my own photos here,
 my scanner is being temperamental
Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock
Have you been there?
 It's one of the most disappointing landmarks I've been to,
but still a cool part of history.
Since the 1st Thanksgiving took place in this great New England state, I decided to go ahead and study it without a postcard to go along with it.  Somehow I am always too slow to get the fun popular seasonal books at the library, but this time it worked out okay.  Instead of silly picture books, we ended up with three non-fiction books that tell the real story of Thanksgiving.  Beck & Peyton have been so quiet and patient while we look through them, and I've caught them pretending to be Indians that help the Pilgrims find fish and food and arguing over whether there was turkey at the 1st Thanksgiving.  This time being to slow at the library has worked out for me.

To go along with our stories, I printed out some Thanksgiving printable crafts at  I've provided the links to each one below...

(They also had a pilgrim girl)

(This one was not worth the stress, 
and now I can't find the link, so I think it must be a sign)

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mail from...North Dakota & Kansas

My family does a lot of traveling.  It's a blessing we have and something I'm grateful for.  My kids love pulling out our photo albums and looking at the places they've been.  So, last week when we pulled out the postcards for North Dakota and Kansas, it seemed like a great time to remind them of some of the fun things we've done in those states.  In addition, we were learning last week about the Grand Canyon, which Beck can remember hiking around not so long ago.  All together, these three places made for a fun week of learning!

North Dakota
Years ago on a drive from Utah to Iowa via Yellowstone, we made a stop in Medora, ND.  It's the location of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and one of the coolest lodging accomodations we've ever stayed in...

Wooly Wagon

That's right, we stayed in a real covered wagon!

Inside the Wooly Wagon

My boys love Kansas, I didn't need to remind them of that.  Every year we go to a 4-day flea market in Sparks, KS with their cousins.  It's hot and smelly camping in a field and it's the most fun ever!  

The Grand Canyon
On a spur-of-the-moment decision two years ago, we met family in Arizona for 3 days of hiking.  Beck and Peyton did amazing!

Where are the places your children love to go?

Side-note:  I had no idea North Dakota and Kansas were so the same,
 but they share the same state bird (the western meadowlark),
 and while Kansas is the Sunflower State, 
North Dakota is the nation's largest producer of agricultural sunflowers. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Days of the Week

A few weeks ago we encountered the first subject in school that caused Beck a little bit of struggle.  It was learning days of the week and months of the year.  So, I jumped online and found some creative ways to make those two things interesting.  Here are the links to the things he liked the most:

I found a great tool for teaching yesterday, today, and tomorrow at School Sparks.  Here is a clip of Beck using it to sing a song he created...

Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow from michelle hiatt on Vimeo.

What are your favorite ways to teach days of the week and months of the year?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Sense of Community

Do you have a "No Witches Here?" sign on your street?  That's what my kids think this sign is for-and not just because it was recently Halloween.  That's really what they think it's saying.  

Recently we studied about our community.

I used this classic learning tool activity to help Beck understand the relationships to where he lives.  Using cardstock and printing paper, the pages were labeled
  • Home
  • Town
  • State
  • Country
  • Continent
  • Planet

This is what we put on each page

  • Home: a drawing of our house
  • Town: a map of our local city
  • State: a map of our state
  • Country: a map of our country
  • Continent: a map of our continent
  • Planet: a map of Earth
I found each of these just by doing a Google search and each one had the previous place marked on it.  For example, an "x" marks our town on our state and our state is colored in on the map of the United States. At the end, we connected all the pages from smallest to largest with a simple brad. 

I know this is a very well-known activity, but I had actually never seen it before and we really loved it!

My favorite part of our community learning was teaching Beck his address! I was so surprised it only took him one day and now it's engrained on his brain.  It's a huge relief knowing that he has that important information in case he ever finds himself in an emergency.

We used this great printable from learn. create. love.

I taped it underneath a piece of plastic wrap and had Beck use a dry erase marker so we could re-use it throughout the week.

We had a lot thinking about our place on the planet.  And if my kids go to sleep at night feeling safe because we have no witches on our street, then that's okay.

What's your favorite way to focus on community?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...