Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

Have I mentioned lately how much I love love love Thrift Stores?

This week was super successful for me becuse I got something I have been wanting forever!
a felt board! (sorry about the link, it was the only one I could find!) The set is incomplete but the board is in great condition and I would rather do my own thing with making my own felt pieces anyway! And, I only paid $.50!

I also picked up a bag of tiny easter eggs. They are about 1/2 an inch and will be great for sorting, counting, graphing, adding, subtracting, etc... Also, just $.50!

I plan to blog about both activities in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Treasure Jars

I COMPLETELY forgot to let you all know about how we won a cool Treasure Jar from Nicki's Treasure Jars. It was one of those things... when it arrived I had no idea who the package might be from and was EXTREMELY happy that it was not diabetic supplies (our usual delivery item)!

Anyway, Nicki from Slow Down, Gym Shoe!, is starting up a new business making Treasure Jars for Children. They are a Jar filled with fun items that she bases on the information you give her about the child. I told her that Josh was a 4 year old boy who liked Lego's and Star Wars. I had no idea what she would be able to do with that info but she really did quite well. In our Jar was a super cute stuffed dog, a bubble maker (battery included!), a balloon launcher, and a Star Wars Paint by Water book. The Jar itself was decorated with Josh's name and a bunch of space themed stickers.

Josh has yet to use most of it since we are still trying to ease our way out of Winter here in MI but it is all pretty cool stuff that we will really enjoy once we can spend anytime outside. He does LOVE the dog...which I never would have anticipated. He named him Simon and carries him all over.

She is also providing her costumers with the opportunity to buy a Treasure Jar for sick Children through a a reduced cost.

If you are interested...check her out at!

Oh, and Thanks Nicki!

Dot Art Activity

Josh read Dots, Dots, Dots at the Museum by Francie Alexander which is a really cool book that incorporates art into the simple to read text. Throughout the book we discussed the use of dots in the various paintings.

Then he "practiced" dot art using dot art printouts from Childcareland. He used our Do-A-Dot Rainbow Art Set (Set of 6).

Finally, he created his own Dot Art!

We had a lot of fun with this project and it was nice to see all the different parts come together. He really could see himself as "the artist" when he created his masterpiece at the end. We finished off by going back to the book and looking at the pictures again. I pointed out how the different artists signed their paintings and then he signed his in true josH style!

Wednesday's Website

I have used Montessori Teachers Collective for years now! I clicked on it this week to do a bit of research and realized that they have COMPLETELY remade the whole page! This is an amazing site that includes albums for 3-6 and 6-12.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Any Ideas?

Josh really wants an easy bake oven for his birthday. I just feel like it is kind of a waste. You know we have an oven, toaster oven and microwave! So does anyone have an ideas of a gift that would be related but not a cooking appliance?


My New Felt Board Activity!

Making our Felt Board Addition Activity

Materials needed

All you need to do is cut out at least 2 sets of simple shapes. I picked orange felt fish, lime green turtles, and yellow stars. (I will probably do a few more sets just to add some variety!) I used stencils for tracing shapes and made a few patterns myself just to keep the shapes identical.
Next, I cut out 2 sets of numbers 1-9 but will need to add 0's, and a few more 1's, and 2's for addition work. Also a + - and = symbol. See the picture below to get an understanding of how the board is used.

Just for fun I am planning on cutting out other shapes and pictures for quiet time activities to get more use of the board.

Some more ideas...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Montessori Monday

So you may have noticed that our life is changing in several ways. My husband has started a new job which means quite a bit more of a drive for him. We are also working on some longer term planning, as in getting ready to get ready to move! And, the biggest, Josh will be starting Kindergarten in the Fall. So we will no longer be a homeschooling family.

Josh will only be attending K 1/2 days so I still plan to afterschool him. Let's face it, the Kindergarten curriculum is no where comparable to what you would find in a Montessori Preschool! So I plan to work on Geography, Science, maths, and continue with reading practice. For example, Josh is working on addition and subtraction currently but in K they will have to start on simple counting and number recognition.

Okay, so what does this actually have to do with Montessori Monday? Well, I am feeling to restricted by the label and am discontinuing it. I still plan to post our activities and they will most likely often be Montessori or Montessori inspired but I want to feel able to share other cool stuff too!

I am really looking forward to all that our future holds! Hope you all will enjoy what we have to share!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Favorite Kids Product

I was tagged for a new meme by Jojo.

This is what you need to do. Write a review of any kids product, it can be a toy, a book or anything which you have personally used. Pass this meme to five other blogger friends.

I thought long and hard about this. I even searched through all my product ratings on amazon. But, really when it comes down to it, the most used/best loved toy in my home is LEGO'S!

Josh has inherited a tub from my former classroom and his Daddy's own giant collection from when he was a boy. He also gets a kit from someone for almost every holiday. We pay no mind to the age range because Josh is a master builder and can do all the kits with minimal help. Lego's are a fabulous open ended building material. Even with the kits, Josh puts them together and then promptly disassembles them and builds what he calls his own kits! Very creative!

I am being lazy and tagging anyone who reads this and wants to rate a beloved toy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday!

I am so very thankful for...
  • the ability to pick a school that is a good fit for us.
  • my DVR (Please do not judge, just being honest!).
  • helpful people whose jobs are to answer phones and help customers. (Including those working at DR offices and Schools!)
  • a certain small guy who makes me laugh at least as often as he makes me sigh!
  • Andrew, who played with Josh after work for an hour yesterday, letting me continue my unplanned nap on the couch. I apparently nodded off with my laptop on my lap.

...and the many other blessings in my life!


Shop at!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday's Website

Check out their Free Lessons and Ideas section. If you are a fan of the Draw Right Now series, here is a good place to get it and Free Shipping on orders over $25.

Sure wish I had money in the budget right now!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Patrick's Day Leprechaun

Sorry about this but I wanted to make sure I did not forget that we had already made this and the easiest way is to put it on the blog!

This year for St. Patrick's Day we created these adorable little Leprechaun men. I am pretty sure the idea is from The Mailbox Magazine. I had a subscription years ago and had a photocopy of the idea but it did not have any publication info on it.

Anyway, the idea is fairly easy!

All you need is
  • 3 green hearts(~2 in),
  • 1 green rectangle (1x2ish),
  • green strip for hat brim, 1 skin colored circle (~1.5 in),
  • tiny black boot shapes,
  • tiny yellow square for the belt buckle,
  • black rectangle for belt, and
  • skin colored hands.

    Josh cut out most of the pieces. I think I did the hands and one of the boots. Then just assemble as shown using the hearts as the arms and legs. Easy and so adorable!

Training Tuesday

Well it really flopped this week! Which seems to be a reoccurring theme!

Anyway, Josh is pretty independent (dresses himself, eats alone, picks up possessions, etc...)except in one huge area...BATHTIME! So far he has absolutely refused to do much of anything where this is concerned.

So today's undertaking was not without prior...well...uh...trauma.

All I wanted was to get him to wash his face with a washcloth...and if that went well...maybe a bit of a sponge bath with the washcloth.

Nope...uh uh...forget it! I could not even get him to put the cloth in the soapy water. Ugh!

No worries though! He comes by his stubborn tendencies honestly and I will just keep at it until he gives up the fight! (hmm, not too Montessori but sheesh!)

Shop at!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Montessori Monday

Well, tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day so we are planning on celebrating with style. One easy way to make holidays special is by doing a little cooking with your kids.

We will be creating a few fun treats! Including Magic Leprechaun Pudding! and Sweet Shamrocks! We are leaving off the green sprinkles...let's not go crazy... but do what you will! (wink, wink!)

As always, cooking is a great Montessori Practical Life activity and make sure to include a bit of science and math if the opportunities arise.


Shop at!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Grace and Courtesy

Josh is a typical Active boy! He could use a HUGE dose of grace and courtesy.

We have started using Carisa's Love printables using the Bible verse 1Corinthians 13: 4-8a. This is such a fitting verse for young children to learn about love and how we treat others we love. As a jumping off of our discussion I am taking a lead from another generous Mom, at 10 Million Miles.

She has broken each phrase down and has written a great explanation and activity for each! We are following each with one of our great books based on values like
Kindness (Values to Live By)
The Dragon Who Couldn't Breathe Fire (A Child's First Library of Values Series)

Other books I would recommend are ...

We also stress with Josh, in our day to day life, to treat others with love. For example, if he is being unkind...I might say, "Josh are you showing me how much you love me right now?" He seems to respond well to this and generally thinks about it and calms down. Of course it is ongoing and not at all perfect but it is so nice to see him displaying what we have discussed.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

Haven't had the chance to "thrift" a whole lot lately. But on Monday I had a few small errands to run and figured I might as well take advantage of getting my home loving son out of the house!

Anyway, it was a pretty successful trip! I bought 2 Cam Jansen Books, 1 Horrible Harry Book, Modeling Clay, Storage cubes~only in white, Star Wars (Yoda Stories) computer game and Jell-o mold shaped like jelly beans. All for about $12. Yippppeee!

I just love a good deal!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So, What DO You Think?

Felt it was time for a change! My blog layout has been the same since I started it. This new one is plain, in a way, but it also feels really fresh to me. Besides, I love red!

Couple of new things in the sidebar. Check them out if you feel inclined!

Wednesday's Website

Just a newer Montessori blog today!

Montesecrets: An insider's guide to Montessori

Check this one out! Make sure you go to the actual blog site, not just adding it to your reader! There are a ton of resources on the actual page and MANY more to come!

In His Words!

Directions:Copy this note, ask your child the questions and write down exactly how they respond. Please join in!
1. What is something mom always says to you? What are you going to play with?
2. What makes mom happy? when I know what I want to do
3. What makes mom sad? when I hit
4. How does your mom make you laugh? silly noise or silly face
5. What was your mom like as a child? a baby
6. How old is your mom? 28 (Actually 34 but better than I expected!)
7. How tall is your mom? very tall, even taller than me (Try 5 feet tall!)
8. What is her favorite thing to do? work
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? play computer (More or less!)
10. If your mom becomes famous,what will it be for? making movies (I have never made a movie!)
11. What is your mom really good at? writing words on your computer
12. What is your mom not very good at? playing with light sabres (So true! so true!)
13. What does your mom do for her job? babysitting (remembering our time w/ Little C)
14. What is your mom’s favorite food? food that I do not like...sometimes
15. What makes you proud of your mom? you help me
16. If your mom were a cartoon character,who would she be? in a cartoon from a movie
17. What do you and your mom do together? watch movies (We were watching a movie!)
18. How are you and your mom the same? we both play with each other
19. How are you and your mom different? you are taller than me
20. How do you know your mom loves you? you say I love you Josh and I say I love you mommy!
21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go? to the grocery store (Ugh, I hate going to the grocery store!)

What a funny guy!

(ht: Megret! )

Monday, March 09, 2009

Montessori Monday

Ugh, sorry...apparently I forgot to post last weeks Montessori Monday...I thought I had one scheduled?!

This week we made Crock pot Applesauce from this recipe! As always, cooking is a great Montessori Practical Life activity. I peeled and sliced the apples into wedges, Josh chopped them into pieces. Then we measured and added the ingredients together. While the crock pot did the cooking we
wrote out a new cookbook page!
Finally, we tossed out the cores and skins for our squirrel friends! Check out the picture, can you see the core clenched in the squirrels paws?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

St Patrick's Day Planning

I am planning our next couple of weeks and thought I would share it with all of you! We are going to do a fun Leprechaun/Rainbow unit! Besides, if I post it here, I can plan on my laptop and print easily at the desk top computer...since we still do not have my laptop "printer ready!"

As always, this is just the list of activities I will pick from... not a list of everything we will do. There is no way we could do everything on this list! Besides, we will probably add other activities on days we are not "feeling it!"

Circle Time

Coloring Sheets

Practical Life


Language Arts


Crafty Ideas


Please, let me know if you find something on here that you use! Or if you find a great activity you will do with your Children!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thankful Thursday!

Gaining a bit of perspective...

Today I am oh so very thankful for...
  • My funny, smart Joshua. He has been a blessing and a challenge but never boring!
  • Andrew, he has been so much more than I ever could have dreamed.
  • Our warm comfortable home.
  • Lovely neighbors, esp. S, M & E.
  • Parents and In Laws who love us and are supportive of our decisions and dreams.
  • You, the community who I have gained so much, in so many different ways.
  • Spring and especially breaks in the winter like we had the past 2 days!
  • The unexpected opportunity that often presents itself when most needed!
  • Old Friends who really know me.
  • A's new job...and actually A's old job.

I live a happy blessed life. I hope the same for all of you!



Been a weird couple of weeks and not really looking as if it will calm down too much! SO... I thought I would just provide all my lame excuses now and apologize ahead of time for crazy, sporadic posting!

My list of crazy-making~

  1. Started with my husband's job becoming risk. (And the constant stress that caused!)

  2. The continuing search for the perfect Kindergarten, we have applied for a place in 3 different schools with LONG waiting lists. We will find out next week where we fall on the list for 2 of the 3, and the 3rd a few weeks later.

  3. I finally convinced Andrew to call a Friend who had previously offered him a job.

  4. Andrew's interview etc... done on the sly.

  5. The job offer and our decision to yes accept.

  6. Waiting to tell the new place or anyone else because of insurance issues. (A has type 1 diabetes which = $$$$)

  7. Newest craziness is deciding if we should try and sell our house to move closer to new job in "these trying economic times!"

It will all work out but for now it is making me on edge to say the least! We are really looking forward to Spring and I will end this rant with a Spring like picture!

Here is Josh playing outside yesterday! Can you see him squinting in the sun?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

B-I-N-G-O and more games I love!

I just love finding fun ways to reinforce skills we are working on. I have found Bingo to be a great way to do just that. It really is a great game that can be played in a variety of ways depending on your needs! We own 3 different versions but have been able to use them since Josh was quite young and will be able to continue with just a few alterations to game play!

The first Bingo that I used with Joshua is the Colors and Shapes Bingo!

  • The first use is just to work on colors, "put your dot on a red shape!"
  • Next, working with shapes in the same way but still only using one parameter, "put your dot on a rectangle!"
  • Finally, to work on both skills and as a great LISTENING activity, "put your dot on a red rectangle!"

We also own Alphabet Bingo!

  • First use would be to just reinforce the letter you are learning, "put your dot on the letter t!"
  • Next to work on sounds, "put your dot on the letter that says /t/ or tuh!" (Montessori style would have you do these 2 activities the other way around learning the sound before the letter name.)
  • Another activity could be to help child to isolate sounds in words, "put your dot on the letter at the beginning of turtle or end of pot!"

Finally, and possibly the most flexible is Number Bingo!

  • First for number recognition, "put your dot on the 16!"
  • Addition, "put your dot on the answer to 8+8!"
  • Subtraction, multiplication, easy division....
  • Place Value, "put your dot on the number made from 1 ten and 6 ones!"

Also do not forget how easily the numbers, shapes and colors could be converted into a foreign language game, "put your dot on ocho, or verde, etc..."