Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Search & Find Math and Dots!

Search & Find!
 I have a 20 sided die & then 1 that has the numbers 1-10 on it. My little guy rolls them both & then we add them up and mark off the answer with a DO-a-Dot marker!

My big kids play this game with multiple dies and they roll and add to get the answers!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday!

Serve it up colorful and with tongs & your kids will LOVE it!
Wow, we're headed up to the 50s in the Midwest in January?! What is happening? We've had to pretend it was Winter lately and you know what? I don't mind!! I truly hope that all of you readers had a fantastic weekend, mine couldn't have been better! We helped out at a school we love & then got to spend time with those people that we love on Sunday. Amazing! Share what you did this weekend!!

Fresh Fruit will be eaten rapidly, if it's cleaned and put in to small containers!
Our Menu is taking on an International Flair this week we've had the opportunity to hit up some ethnic grocers, which open us up to an entire world of spices, produce and the like. I'm excited to try new foods and the kids are excited to taste whatever concoction I can come up with!

Baking Bread is one way to keep the house smelling wonderfully!

Weekday Menu:
Monday: Steamed Bok Choy with Jumbo Shrimp & Fried Rice
Tuesday: Curry Chicken & Vegetables in a yogurt sauce
Wednesday: Vegetable Lasagna served with a side salad
Thursday: Steak Fajitas served with beans
Friday: Bratwurst with Potato Salad

Rainbow Pancakes will have your children talking all day about them!
Weekend Menu:
Saturday: Shrimp Dumplings & Egg Drop Soup
Sunday: Meat Loaf & Green Beans served with a side salad

Octopus Hot Dogs are a way to make your little ones smile! 
Do you plan your menu ahead of time, or do you just like to go with the flow as dinner time approaches? For us personally, I find that a menu works best, so that I have everything I need on hand, can prep things the night before and we are eating a good meal. Our schedule does not allow for much down time, so if I know what I am making and everything is chopped ahead of time and ready to go, I know that I won't have  to come up with something at the last minute or at a time when my brain is completely dead!

Add in fun shapes to a normal veggie platter & the kids will eat it all up!
What's on your menu?


Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fun Indoors

Happy FRIDAY!!! After this week, I was pretty sure that Friday would never come. We've spent a lot of time outdoors this Winter, but sometimes the indoors are just easier. Before I left to pick up the kids from school, I grabbed some felt squares from the art bin and set up a hopscotch game. This turned out to be the most fun of all. They took turns switching up the pattern of jumping, adding and removing squares and making up new games all together. This is something that they have all asked to do again after school today!

Did you know how fun and easy it is to make bangle bracelets from the tape roll ends? This is something my daughter loves to do the most and I think that's why she seems to go through tape so quickly! Hahaha

After I picked up these awesome cookie cutters in the TARGET dollar spot I was thrilled to introduce them into our play dough time! It went perfect with out SPARKLE DOUGH and with the added scent of essence of rose, this playtime not only looked cute, it smelled awesome!

We had so much fun building a marble run that was so tall, they needed stools to reach the tops. Designing & Creating seems to be the most fun, because they usually only dropped the marbles a few times each before it was time for tear down and rebuild!

What have you been up to???


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Shaving Cream Fun!

As we were preparing for an afternoon of fun, I had a fun thought that Shaving Cream could be just the answer to an indoor fun and 'clean' activity!! I grabbed a deep red bin (TARGET DOLLAR SPOT) and filled it up! It smelled so nice and looked very inviting, Roman wanted to jump right in of course!

It became a portable birthday cake for everyone in the house as he went from person to person and sang!

A carwash for his many cars & once they were all 'clean', it became a giant snowstorm they drove through.

A sudsy bath for rubber ducky friends seemed to have been the best part of the playtime.
Which of course led to an idea to give himself a bath! In he went and the tray came too YAY IT FLOATS!

How was your day?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Studying for Spelling Tests can be Fun!

My children have weekly spelling tests and I like to keep the daily studying fun. There are only so many times a child will want to look at words and write them down or verbally spell them out. I know that if you give them the list to look at more than a few times, they will eventually space out and forget it all. I came up with a super fun routine that makes them CHEER for new words on Monday! I follow the same process for all of my children, even though each one is at a different level and gets different words. We work at the same time at the HOMEWORK CENTER with a little back and forth from Mom & it works well!

MONDAY: First we take our list and read the words. We write down the words on flashcards and bind them with a book ring to make them easy to flip through. As they write each word, the SAY the word before they begin. Next, they SPELL the word as they write each letter and finally they SAY the word in a sentence. Our flashcards are sometimes just white index cards, colored cardstock, old greeting cards that have been cut up or even paper trimmed in pinking shears! We like to vary it up. Next, we look up the definition of EACH word and write it down in our SPELLING WORD DICTIONARY that I told you all about before!

We turn our cards over and STAMP the words on the back or even right on the same side as the writing if there is enough room. This helps them remember the letters, as they have to search for each individual one in the stamp box & then say the letter aloud as they stamp it. When the word is through being stamped they must SAY the word, Spell the word & SAY the word in a sentence before moving on to the next word.
Today we take our words and spell them out in clay! This day is the most fun and is often requested earlier in the week hahah. They form each letter with their own hands to spell the words. Each child gets a cookie sheet and takes their flashcard ring to begin. They do 1 word at a time and as they form the letter they say it out loud. Once each letter has been created they SAY the word. They then SPELL the word and of course they finally SAY the word in a sentence. We constantly work on the basics of spelling, with a little fun and a lot of memorization worked in.
Thursday is practice test before the big day on Friday! On this day, they each get a stencil (upper case & lower case) and with each word that I ask them to spell, they seek out each letter and begin to stencil it. This way, they are taking the time to THINK about each letter they need and not just rush & guess. They have a lot of fun with the stencils and I am also squeezing in proper letter formation here as well! With Friday being test day in school, our spelling study ends on Thursday! My children both hold A's in Spelling the youngest is not graded, since I give him words from home, not in preschool and they have all come to LOVE the learning process.

How do you study for tests??


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chinese New Year Snack

For the Chinese New Year, I sent personalized snacks to the school!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday!

Fruit Rainbow served with yogurt 'clouds' as dipping sauce

Happy Monday! I'm ready with a week chock full of yummy foods. We hit an International Market this weekend and picked up some delicious goodies. I hope that your weekend was wonderful, ours was full of snow and fun family memories and that's all I can truly ask for. 
Alphabet Cookies make the best lesson manipulatives!

Monday: Garden Vegetable Calzone
Tuesday: Italian Baked Pork Chops
Wednesday: Grilled Cheese Dippers and Tomato Soup
Thursday: Cajun Chicken Pasta
Friday: Caribbean Black Bean Soup

It's always best to wash, cut& store fruits & veggies as soon as they enter the house

This upcoming weekend is bound to be busy as my husband is working and I have volunteer hours at the school where the big kids go and I am doing BINGO NIGHT! I have so much fun volunteering, I get to know that other parents and spend some time helping out others. My children go to a small Catholic School and every little bit of parental involvement helps. As is the same with any school of course.
Tea & Fruit is usually how I like to close out my night

Weekend Menu Plans:
Saturday: Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli
Sunday: Mini Chicken Empanadas 

The Desserts I worked on this weekend to last through the week were:
Fruit Salad, Chocolate Pudding & Fruit jell-o ring

Waffle Sandwiches & Fruit for breakfast with syrup for dipping

What is on your Menu this week? Please share!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend Musings...

As I settle in for the evening with the IKEA catalogue, some tea and fruit, I think about what a wonderful weekend we had. For the first time in a long time and the last time in a while, my husband did not have to work this weekend & I selfishly kept him all to ourselves! We spent so much time together that the kids smiled ear to ear all weekend, I laughed so hard that I think I pulled something and I finally got to see my husband leave his job behind for a little bit! Yes, we could have seen family, caught up with friends or even gone to a birthday party but instead we stuck together and we are all the better for it.
We were going to play 'snowed in' all weekend and decided to stock up our pantry on a variety of goodies, the Littles enjoyed their time picking out stuff to make meals with and sampling the goodies on display!

We started putting together our homework center and rearranged other portions of our abode. Life had us giggling all weekend long. Another weekend that has me feeling very Blessed...


Friday, January 20, 2012

Bucket of Monkeys

Friday Fun Time! I've mentioned our Word Wall before & my kids love it. the new readers love to see what they can identify on the wall & the seasoned readers love to help out. I decided to make this wall do more than just sit there (surprise, surprise) and we have turned it in to a game! I picked up a pack of cardstock Monkeys at the teacher store and wrote letters on their belly. I bought 2 packs so that there were a lot of letters! This game can be played many ways:

1. Pick a sight word. Spell it out with the monkeys.
2. Everyone gets 6 cards and you take turns spelling words from the hand you have. (keeping 6 cards in        
    your hands at the start of each turn).
3. Spell a word with the monkeys (big kids) and have the little guy find it on the word wall.

There are so many more ways to play, but you get the idea! 

Have a wonderful weekend friends!!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crafty Storage Tip!

Hello friends! I'm pretty sure I'm in good company here, when I talk about LOVING to repurpose things. I really enjoy breathing a new life into anything and everything that I come in to contact with. Today's change up comes in the form a baby bottle dishwasher basket. After purchasing a 50 count marker package from Crayola, I quickly learned that the little plastic sleeve was NOT going to work for storage and I racked my brain to see what we could use. I had a couple of these baskets in the Science Lab holding Test Tubes (see, another use!!) and decided to see if that would work! Autumn cut out a piece of cardboard to stick on the bottom of the basket, so that they markers would not fall through the holes. This basket is PERFECT! 

Done coloring? 50 markers stash perfectly inside with the lid clasped tight. If you want, you can even put in a decorative paper all around the interior of the basket, so that the markers do not slip out the side holes. With 50 markers, they are pretty tight, so no worries of falling!

Our markers are decorating a rocket ship!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Play!

Do your Littles want to play out in the snow, but you dread the thought of getting them all bundled up, only to have them freeze within 5 minutes and want to come inside? It often takes my little guys longer to get ready to go out, than we actually spend outside. I decided to bring the outdoors in, by filling a plastic drawer with SNOW & Fun Upcycled Toys and some other odds and ends from the kitchen.

When he got home from school, little Roman was SOOOO surprised he dove right in! There was a lot of filling, scooping and packing. He had so much fun, I had to remind him to put his gloves on. 

He remembered that seals eat penguins, so he grabbed some critters from our Safari Toob Animal bin and made up a fun play scene. There was a lot of action and even some stories being told. I really liked how much creative play was coming out of this.

He made ice cream for everyone, snowballs, igloos, forts and the like. Together we had so much fun exploring snow while staying warm! I think if Daddy hadn't been sick, he may have joined us too!
Using the cups we built snowmen, towers and castles. We figured out different ways to use the cups and decided which made the best 'bricks'. Yogurt cups seem to be the overall winner hands down!

Next time your yard looks like this, it's time to bring the snow INDOORS!!
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