Friday, July 11, 2014

Corner of my Classroom

Today's corner of our classroom holds our globe, hundreds counters and an old straw dispenser that now holds pencils!

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4-6th Grade Reading Fun Top Ten Series you MUST read!

The water park was nearly empty, the slides had no lines and the diving board was free too. I looked for my daughter and her best friend to see what they would be enjoying and I could not find them. Fear of course clutched my chest as I stared into every corner of the pools. THERE! They were both wrapped in their towels still, laying on chaise lounges and reading away. Yup, I can see why they are friends. My daughter is 9 and loves to read, she doesn't just enjoy books, she devours them. She gets it from me, when forced outdoors as a child, I would be found under a tree with books bigger than I was. Do you have a reluctant reader? Try to pull them into another world with books from a series. If they enjoy the first, they will be eager move on to the next and if not, abandon it and try another! 
Here is a list of Series Books that Autumn has enjoyed and shared with me from 4th grade and on! I left off the obvious Harry Potter and Hunger Games as I am sure many people have heard of these and most likely read them already. I have read almost all of the books that she has and agree with her picks! It was hard to narrow down to her top 10.
1. The Babysitters Club (this is a seemingly never ending series that I read myself as a child). Very easy read and if you need something easier, there is also a Little Sisters Baby Sitters Club series.

2. The 39 Clues (My son and daughter loved this series!) The Cahills are the most powerful family the world has ever known. With 39 clues hidden around the world that guard the family's power, it's Cahill versus Cahill in a worldwide race to find the Clues and beat the competition.

3. Warriors A series about cats spoken about in the human form. This is a HUGE series with spin-offs that each have 6 books in them. Perfect for the animal lover.

4. I survived A collection of books that take place during important events in history but told from a child's perspective.

5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians  These are AWESOME, they are great for a family read. Already made into 2 movies, I encourage you to read the series and move on to the spin off series, these cannot be put down.

6. Kidnapped A fast pace series that is easy to handle in size. This is a series that follows the On the Run series which is also a great read as well. This series deals with a kidnapped girl and her sister that has to deal with the FBI

7. On the Run Children try to clear their parents' names.

8. Kingdom Keepers These books are addicting and if you've been to Disney World, even more so! They are great to envision and enjoy. There is even a Kingdom Keepers quest in Magic Kingdom!

9. Peter and the Starcatchers This series is a simple and enchanting way to get to know the background of Peter Pan, before he met Wendy.

10. Steel Trapp Never have we both gotten into a series so much that we had to stop reading and keep asking questions and swapping information as we went through.

EXTRAS that CANNOT BE MISSED! (Her words!)
11. Heroes of Olympus This is the follow up to Percy Jackson and the Olympians and is just as good a read as the last. Each book is better than the last.

12. Dork Diaries Funny books to read that can easily be read in a day!

13. A Series of Unfortunate Events This is certainly an odd series that I found difficult to get into, but my daughter loved them and plowed right through!

14. Mother - Daughter Book Club an excellent read for both of us that truly inspired us to start our own book club, but as we run a rainbow loom club right now, we will focus on that first!

15. The Kane Chronicles fans of Rick Riordan will love following this series everywhere it leads!

Hope this helps create a loving reader in your home!! Remember, enjoy every minute.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer 2014 Bucket List!

June is here and it means so many things to us! Warmer weather, shorter school schedule, more time with friends, pools and waterparks but mainly it means:

Summer is here and so is our Bucket List!! We are so ready to get started that we almost could not narrow the list down to something manageable! You can get your own printable copy HERE

2014 Summer Bucket List
3 Kids, 2 Parents, 1 Awesome Summer (Again!)
  • Drive-In Movie
  • Make Crayon Candles in the Sun
  • Make Garden Mint Iced Tea brewed in the Sun
  • Visit New-To-Us-Park
  • Take long bike ride
  • Picnic in the Park
  • Go to community Movie in the Park
  • Have a mud and water outdoor party
  • Bike Wash
  • Lemonade Stand
  • Neighborhood watergun fight
  • Volunteer for a charity in need as a family
  • Kids plan and make 1 week of dinners
  • Go to a concert in the park
  • Zoo trip with friends
  • Camping
  • Amusement park with friends
  • Build a large fort to play games in
  • Rainy Day Movie Day!
  • Attempt to fry an egg outdoors
  • Make a smore in the sun
  • Race homemade boats
  • Backyard Scavenger Hunt
  • Visit 1 new park
  • Splashpark Play
  • Waterpark Day
  • Tie-dye t-shirts
  • Make glow-in-the-dark garden rocks
  • Make finger puppets
  • Ice Cube Treasure
  • Painting with Plants
  • Hole Punching Leaves to make Summer Garland
  • Beach Day!
  • Sand Play!
  • Neighborhood Smore’s Party!
  • Turn Slide into waterslide and fall in a pool of water!
  • Keep a summer journal
  • Road Trip!
  • Wear costumes in public!
  • Do School Outdoors!
  • Practice 5 random acts of kindness in one day
  • Visit 1 new park
  • Make a fairy garden
  • Build an outdoor car track
  • Bike obstacle course
  • Have a tea party
  • Make a movie
  • Make Ice-Cream in a bag
  • Pool Play & Learn
  • Firepit Party
  • Create a special drink
  • Outdoor Science Lab
  • Chalk-Art an entire block
  • Make a wishing tree in a park
  • Set up our Park Play Kits in random parks
  • Visit 1 new park
  • Practice 5 Random Acts of Kindness
  • Take a tour of some place new
  • Visit a grandparent at work
  • Buy dinner for someone in a restaurant
  • Install and Fill our Free Little Library
  • Have a neighborhood field day
  • Make a salad from all garden veggies
  • Farmers market visit and dinner from the buys
  • Buy unusual fruits and veggies for a sampling day
  • Have a giant sleepover
  • Make cards and deliver to a local nursing home
  • Have a table that the kids run at a garage sale
  • waterpark fun #2
  • splashpark fun #2
  • Try 1 new restaurant
  • Buy Ice cream for the person in line behind us at the sweet shoppe!
  • Make a new friend
  • Have a book swap
  • Create a city-wide day of play in a local park
    Make it one to remember and don't forget to enjoy every minute!

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Show Me The Money...Show ME The Work!

Do your children do chores around the house? My answer is a quick yes! They are also not known as chores over here, but simply as must-do's (of course the kids still refer to them as chores!!). It is something that is ingrained daily in their activity and something that is expected of them. The tasks of course are age appropriate and instill in them a work ethic. As a stay at home mom, they see the most of me and I want to show them that there is work to be done at home as well, not just outside of the home like Daddy. Knowing all this work will hopefully teach my little men that their wives are not just sitting around all day, should they choose the stay at home route in their life as well. I also hope it teaches my daughter the value of a life at home, even though at the moment she is insistent in no marriage and a future working for our government. 
The big question is, do I pay them for their chores? The simple answer is NO. My kids are learning that the things that need to get done around the house are things that there is no payment for, we do them for the ability to live in a clean home and have a roof over our head. My children do get money for doing chores at my the home of my parents, because those are optional chores. Once family members started seeing them work there, they were offered small jobs at other places as well. My children also have a yearly Lemonade Stand in which they earn money as well. When there are big projects going on (we are in the midst of a remodel) and the kids help out with that stuff, we always reward them with some money. When they are given money for ANYTHING, they are asked to split it in 3 ways. This is for:
1. Savings Account (Their college is paid for, we are asking them to begin saving for a downpayment on a home)
2. The Church or charity of their choice (they have their own church envelopes in which they put in their personal information.
3. Themselves, this is their fun money that at the moment they are all saving for tickets to Universal Studios! (We are doing 10 days in Disney and the kids asked to do US as well, we told them with all the money being spent on Disney, it was up to them! 1 son has his money already and the other 2 are halfway there!)
What type of work do my kids do?
Autumn -Age 9 - Fix Bed and Clean room daily, do her laundry once a week, sweep dining room and living every other day, put away clean dishes every other day, clean kids bathroom weekly, clear dinner table every other day.
Gabriel - Age 8- Fix Bed and Clean room daily, do own laundry once a week, sweep dining room and living room every other day, empty all house garbage cans and take out trash, clear dinner table every other day.
Roman - Age 6 - Fix Bed and Clean Room daily, take laundry downstairs daily, sweep kitchen every other day, spray and wipe down tables daily, set dinner table, keep library shelves dusted weekly.
ALL must keep playroom tidy daily and then a deep clean once a week.
Remember to enjoy every moment my friends and please share what you do in your home!

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Happy Friday! Let's Hit The Road!

Friday's always bring many a road trip to our little family. One thing I have learned on our travels, is that I have to keep it interesting in the car, since I won't give in to the DVD player brigade! Old fashioned singalongs, license plate games, quiet work and other things are what we like to do! It keeps the family engaged with one another at all times and the kids don't zombie out! This is a game the kids and I love to play! Circle fill, is just a sheet of circles that everyone must decorate in an allotted time period. It does not matter how they are decorated as long as they are each done differently and with some type of design, not just a dot and moving on. 
A magnetic-dry erase lapboard is perfect for 'scratch paper' and for drawing or playing games with siblings. Tic-Tac-Toe, hang-man and so much more!

These awesome lunch containers can be used for so much more than lunch! I use them to hold multiple games and they use less space than if I were to bring them along on their own!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Water Table Learning!

Water Tables are a staple in the Summer, it doesn't even have to be a formal table. You can DIY with a large bowl or bucket...anything you choose! One way I love to make teaching fun is at the water table. We use foam letters (when wet, they stick to the walls of the table) to work on spelling words. I say the word and the use the tongs to grab the letter and wet it on both sides, then they spell the word. It can easily be adapted for an early learning to just find letters as you call them out!

Even younger learners can still have fun by developing their fine motor skills by using tongs to grab things by color or shape! We use these plastic ice cubes in a bowl for our young friends! When a color or shape is called out, they use the tongs to find what we are looking for! So simple and so fun, they don't even know they are learning!!
Happy Wednesday my Friends!

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!!

Happy Memorial Day my friends! What are the big plans for the day? Outdoor fun for us, before the rain comes! Bubbles are always a daily favorite, but we wanted to get creative in order for all the neighborhood kids to have a chance to play if they come over. A 1.00 pack of pipe cleaners makes 50 bubble wands, since each cleaner makes 1 wand. The kids just twisted the pipe cleaners into any shape they want, this week our theme seems to be hearts!

We use our bubble station to fill bubble cups for everyone, so it is just grab and go. What do we use as bubble cups???? The bottoms of water bottles! Perfect for little hands to hold and disposable when the fun is done, can't be beat!
Happy Monday my friends!

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Creativity Rules!

If there is anything I love to do on a daily basis, it's get creative! Even if it's just using a board game in a new way or turning trash into something useful! I posted about our mini greenhouses before, but wanted to show you one in action! This one holds peas! I cannot stress enough, that if children are involved in the growing process they are learning so many things and in the end will ALWAYS taste what they create! A yogurt bottle with holes at the bottom and the bottom of a 2 liter bottle make the perfect house for little sprouts!

The hardware store is better than any toy store when it comes to getting creative for kids.
PVC makes the greatest play tool for water tables. They can piece them together however they wish and use funnels to create water tunnels.

Weekly Inspiration!  MCW strives to inspire everyone out there and when I inspire awesome things, I want to share it with you! Check out this awesome batmobile that was created using an old cozy coupe and some spray paint!! Keep your eyes peeled on garage sales, because these could be had for a steal! I just sold one for 15.00 last month, so they are everywhere!
My kids inspire me, what inspires you my friends? Enjoy every single minute! <3 p="">

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Friday, May 16, 2014

DIY Water Table

As I have spoken about last summer and the one before that and on and on with my Thrifty sandbox and water table, it is AWESOME! What I started noticing though, is that we get a lot of neighbor kids in the area as well and it was getting a little too wet on the floor when too many kids were involved, which meant wet bottoms on kids. I decided it was time to TAKE A STAND :) Less than 20.00 in PVC and it was ready to go!
It sits inside with our 'water toys' as the PVC glue dries but will then be spray painted and ready to roll!! It took less than an hour to put together and is perfect for bigger kids, as those tiny toddler tables are too short and too small. Great for many lessons, play and fun! We cannot wait to get started! Thanks friends and enjoy every minute!

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Outdoor Discovery & A Show...

As I discussed on my FACEBOOK PAGE earlier, I do not have a pretty yard. We work hard to maintain it, but the previous owner had A LOT of ground cover and it has begun to take over the yard. No matter how much we clear and fertilize and move and on and on...well it stays maintained but it's not glamorous. What it is though, is an explorer yard. This yard can be dug in anywhere (as long as they cover the hole when finished), seeds can be planted anywhere and flowers can always be picked. We can always find baby bunnies, birds, squirrels and lately this awesome nest! We examined and studied how tightly wound it was and then we even looked around for the types of birds that were nearby. It was a fun experience for us and passed it on to a friend that is a pre-k teacher and she will share it with her class. The learning continues! 

The kids love to help garden as I discuss every year and as they get older, they can do so much more and choose what they want to plant and do it all on their own!
We used to have a big and bulky puppet theater that the kids outgrew but it was always a pain to store and take out, the kids still love to put on a show and now it's easy to do! A tension rod can be set up in any door way and when you add fabric it is a ready stage! Hang the rod higher and use curtain clips and it becomes a stage curtain that can be pulled to the side for more dramatics! So many shows for so little a price!
Have a great weekend my friends and remember to enjoy every minute!

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