Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

At This Simple Home

  • Homemade Magic Shell - I remember having Magic Shell once as a child. The chocolate syrup drizzled over my ice cream magically turned crispy hard. Mmm... So I was rather excited t...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Speech Update

We had a wonderful weekend filled with LOTS of family visiting for E's dedication at our church. Before I forget, I want to share with you that we had a meeting to plan M's time remaining with Early Intervention before she turns three (in October). You might remember that we were quite concerned that she might lose services because with the evaluation that was used for her, she scored average, even on speech. You can read about those problems here. Thanks to the dedication of our therapists, M will continue receiving speech therapy 2 times a week and her teacher will come once a week. We decided to stop occupational therapy since it was only once a month and at this point, not super effective. A huge factor in this was M's speech therapist writing an "informed clinical opinion" to add on to the evaluation. It made it very clear that though her scores were average, she is not understandable, and she is not consistent with errors. (For example she will say "doom," "poon,", and "poom." All mean the word "spoon." The next big step is to get three evaluations from the IU. We actually had one today for occupational therapy. Another for a general eval is scheduled. The speech eval has not been scheduled yet. (This is quite upsetting to me because if M is going to preschool, I want to have time to prepare her. There is no sense changing bedtime without good reason. We truly have NO idea what will happen, but we hope she'll be going to the speech and language classroom with the developmental preschool.)

Friday, August 28, 2009


This snake was so much fun to make! We modeled it after Ramblings of a Crazy Woman's snake. We colored, cut a spiral, added eyes and a tongue! So simple and easy! A while ago I made some foam sewing cards. I kept the hole punches. I used two red ones for the eyes instead of googley eyes. They stay on better than googley eyes. This was part of our study on Adam and Eve.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


So in an attempt for some open-ended art...I let M choose her paper and go to town with her crayons. Well, her "going to town" didnt' last long. She isn't really into just drawing. Maybe one day. But not today (or any time soon). She barely added to what you see here. So we turned it over. She asked me to draw a rainbow. She colored it pretty well. Teaching My Little Bookworm is a wonderful resource for GOOD crafty ideas for children, and she is wonderful at connecting them to books, too. Do check it out! Also, if you are so inclined, participate in the open ended art-crayons this week. By doing so last week, I won some fall colored tissue paper! Also go there to see what others are doing with crayons...they're way better than this!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little Box

This began as a simple, unfinished box. (The pencil is there to show size.)

First I covered it in green paint that I had mixed. I'm not a big fan of painted wood (especially in pastel colors), so my solution was to break up the green. I dry-brushed a bright/dark blue on the green.

To dry-brush, I dipped the brush in the blue paint. Then I removed most of the paint on a paper towel. Then I lightly touched the brush to the box over and over again. It was fun for me.

The finishing touch required the help of my Craft Night friends at church. They bring a Cricut machine to cut letters each time we get together. I used the Cricut to cut the "M." I really liked the boxed effect. (It's all one piece.)

I used Mod Podge for the first time to attach the "M." I used a sponge brush, brushing along the grain of the wood, to cover the top with Mod Podge. I carefully placed the "M" on the box, using a toothpick to adjust it a bit. Then I placed a couple more layers of Mod Podge on the top.

Inside are teeny, tiny little hair clips for M's hair.

If you liked this project, stay tuned later this week for another, but very different, personalized clip holder.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Tot School is typically less structured than what I'm sharing, but I still wanted to share! Tot school is typically just learning through play. Our weeks of Creation were fun, and we played with a lot more toys and speech activities than Creation activities, but I like the idea of putting my Creation thoughts together in a post. Meghan is 34 months old. We've spent the past two weeks talking about how God created the world in seven days. This was a lot of fun for M and me. We use Hubbard's Cupboard for the base, but use very little of the ideas. We focused on the verse Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. We sang it...well, I sang it. M attempted to fill in a few words. Though she is not capable of singing, she would ask for more. (I'm thankful she has no clue how horribly I sing!) This is a mini-Creation book that M colored and read. We also made binoculars to go for a walk to see all of God's creation. We mostly saw rocks, plants, and trees. We did see a few animals and friends, too though. A note here: Super glue made them much sturdier. They were also reinforced with packaging tape. We played a game putting animals in the sea or sky. (FYI, I printed them smaller than the game is made to save ink. Yes, I am cheap like that.) I purposefully made sugar cookies for this little study of creation. As it turned out the animal cookie cutters were quite large, so M only iced the much smaller heart cookies. It wasn't a bad idea though, just not as practical as I would have liked. We also ate Oreo cookies to show the dark and light like God made. We had fun with our moon magic, too. This week we'll be talking about Adam and Eve...I'm looking forward to the challenge. See others' Tot School ideas here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grandma Rabbitty's Visit (Review)

This past weekend while Derek's mom was visiting we found this book at the library. We checked it out (along with 18 others). Grandma Rabbitty's Visit by Barry Smith is a delightful book for toddlers. Its illustrations are vivid and have a variety of vehicles that children love in it. Some of them are a bus, ice cream truck, steam roller, and sports car. The book is also filled with a wide range of sounds that kids like to imitate. Even M was able to do this! It is not a board book, but it has the thick, durable pages that make the book last and last. Grandma Rabbitty's Visit begins with the "bring, bring" of the telephone. Grandma calls to say she's on her way for a visit. The bunny family spends the day listening to the sounds of the cars and trucks passing by wondering if each sound will bring Grandma Rabbitty. The illustrations show the family in their living room with a large window that has a wonderful view of the street and all the vehicles passing. Grandma Rabbitty finally arrives with a "vroom-vroom-vroom"-on a motorcycle! (The book calls it a motorbike.) M has enjoyed this book a great deal, and has requested it time after time. The best part is that my mom does ride (not drive) a motorcycle! How sweet! I've noticed that when books try to not stereotype, it comes off as too strong. Grandma Rabbitty's Visit is a wonderful surprise, but not because it isn't stereotypical, but because it's just plain sweet that Grandma has finally arrived. Even if your child's grandma doesn't tote a motorcycle helmet, this is still a great book for a toddler! Enjoy!

Speech Update

M is just two months away from her third birthday! WOW! She has come so far! First, we have an Early Intervention meeting scheduled for next week to see how her services will change. It's an annual meeting, and a follow up to the evaluation she had a few weeks ago that concerned me so much. It was explained to me that since the SLP, special education/early childhood teacher, and M's parents all want services to continue, they probably will. So I'm not so concerned now. Thinking of the future (the end of October) when she turns three, we have two of three evaluations scheduled for early September. These evals will lead to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that will determine what services M will receive from the Intermediate Unit. We are waiting for the third evaluation to be scheduled. Hopefully we get the call soon. M is making wonderful progress despite the apraxia. She said, "No. E (brother's nickname). Eat. Mama. Shoe." Five words! She also started adding -ing to words by telling her brother, "No talking." He was just jabbering in the car. A little. Since then she has added -ing to other words too! It's wonderful to hear. M is putting three words together at least once a day, too. Any time she has a longer sentence "mommy", "please", and/or "more" are usually used. M will say "thank you" and "bless you" at appropriate times! The words are very high-pitched and not understandable (without context), but they are there! Her vocabulary, in general, is growing all the time too. We're excited for all the new words!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Featured On...

Just wanted to share with you that ABC and 123 featured our Moon Magic Painting that we did last week. They're a great resource for me...and will be for many years to come! It's not just for preschoolers! Check out today's post for more space ideas!

Magnetic Fun

This is not my idea. This was given to me a year or two ago to be used as a serving tray. It's a cookie sheet. Then a place mat (maybe 1/8 inch thick) was cut around the cool designs. This one has bird houses on it. Each piece has several magnets on the back. Some of the magnets need to be hot glued on to the place mat, but it's pretty clever. M really enjoys playing with it. It's something fun and different.
I just thought I'd share in case you'd like to do something like this! I don't think it's fabulous as a serving tray, but it's certainly a hit as a manipulative toy! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Egg Carton Shake

Traditional ways of practicing numbers just has not worked for us. Books. Games. Puzzles.
M will count (once in a while) for hide and seek. She also counted grapes as she pulled them off a bunch last week!
Here's a pretty physical game to help a child identify and distinguish between 1, 2, I, and L. It's the Egg Carton Shake game from Hubbard's Cupboard. I taped in the numbers/letters. Then we put in a button and shook it up! Wherever the button landed M told me what she saw. She knew all of them already, but soon we'll add more numbers. It's a good, active game for us...yet it still didn't do super to hold her attention, but we played for a few minutes the first time we played.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Moon Magic

I was really excited to study the seven days of Creation with M. She loves the moon and stars. She enjoys asking us to draw them and has even tried on her own a bit. As much as she enjoys seeing pictures of the moon, she loves seeing it in the or night! This was the perfect opportunity to do a bit of magic painting. Ahead of time I used a white crayon to draw the moon and lots of small stars on white paper. M used watered-down black tempera paint to cover the paper. If you look closely, you can see some stars in the picture. The moon is a bit harder to see though.
When I do this again, I will use water colors instead. I think it will show better. Some other ideas for the magic painting might be a special birthday message or even the letter or number you are studying. For older kids they might like to write secret messages to one another or even vocabulary words or a Bible verse they are trying to memorize.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Is anyone else having problems seeing blogs they follow in their Dashboard or Google Reader? I've lost all the blogs I follow. Maybe you can leave me a comment so I can connect to your blog and re-follow you if you are a blogger. Thanks. I also went into my followers and was able to reconnect that way with some...but I'm not done. Thanks for your help.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mail Time!

We participated in the Super Summer Swap hosted by The Dairy Queen and Superheroes and Princesses. We were not disappointed! Sissy from Academy at Thousand Oaks is also two years old. She chose lots of wonderful things for Meghan. She immediately went for the yellow, smiley face necklace. It's filled with bubbles! Also included were stickers, coloring book, stamp, ink, paints, some wooden items to paint, and some special items from Sissy's state of Arkansas! Sissy and her mommy put together a very special book for Meghan. It used photographs to tell all about Sissy. This is a such a great idea! We are thrilled to know Sissy so well. M was thrilled when we sent Sissy her package at the post office. When she opened the new package, she kept saying Sissy's real name and "friend." Isn't that sweet! Thank you to Sissy and Jenny at Academy at Thousand Oaks!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Homemade Stencils and Free Art

We have an abundance of lids in our home. For the past couple of months, I have been saving them instead of recycling them. Our first project with them was to make some stencils. I just drew a heart and star on each lid.

They were cut using an Exacto knife.

The first day we tried the stencils we just used crayons. It worked pretty well. (Sorry, no picture.)
Here are some of the hearts we made with paint.
After painting a few hearts, M just wanted to paint.
We used another lid for a painting palette! I love the look of brightly colored paints on dark paper, especially after it dries!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Play-Doh Placemat

I used my handy little laminating machine to make Play-Doh placemats for M and E. (No E does not use it!) A long time ago I used my friend's Cricut machine and cut out the letters to their names. I also have some precut shapes on nice paper. On regular scrapbooking paper I typed the ABC's and numbers 1-10. I placed the letters, laminated, and was done!

It's a really easy project. M loves it. She prefers the side with her name in big letters which didn't surprise me.
If you do not have a laminator, you could use contact paper. If you do that, go with 12x12 cardstock instead of 8 1/2 x 11. You could even take it to a local teacher or office supply store.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Three Little Pigs Puppets

This past spring I made these finger puppets for M. She had really been enjoying the story of the Three Little Pigs, and I thought it might encourage some speech and eventually storytelling.
I had so much fun designing the puppets. They're my own design, but I did look at other puppets and drawings of pigs and wolves to try to get an idea of how to best portray the pigs and wolf. The little pockets on the pigs have hay, sticks, and bricks in them.
Each of the Three Little Pigs characte's puppet is completely hand-sewn. They're about 1 1/2 by 3 inches. Obviously, I am not good at French knots, but I got the blanket stitch down! Not including the designing time, I have six to seven hours of sewing involved in the four puppets!
I wanted to share these for the storytelling theme over at ABC and 123. Though M isn't interested (probably due to her limited speaking abilities) in storytelling, she does like it when I tell stories using puppets. I suspect other children might embrace little finger puppets more than she has! If you have any questions about how to make finger puppets, I'd be happy to answer them! You're welcome to imitate my design, but I'd appreciate the credit since I put a lot of effort into the design.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pre-K Materials Giveaway

Cheerios Underfoot (what a clever blog name!) is participating in the Homeschool Creations' Curriculum Clean Out. What this means is that she is giving away lots of her own, gently used, materials. I'd love to win what she's giving away today. I'm not going to tell you what it is though. You can check it out for yourself at Cheerios Underfoot. It's worth the visit!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Planning Time

In February when M was diagnosed with apraxia, we thought about preschool. Preschools are a language-rich environment and can be very beneficial. We don't know if she will qualify for the developmental preschool with the speech and language classroom, but we did decide not to put her in a regular preschool this fall. Hopefully we'll know later this month or early in September if she is going to the developmental preschool. In the meantime, we'll do a bit of preschool at home. As a mom I have the opportunity to be such a huge influence in my children's lives. I want to take it. M loves to learn. So hopefully this month I will get everything ready and prepared for our own mini-homeschool. I don't consider myself to be a homeschooler. I'm just a mom, wanting to teach my children. However, I am the type of person who needs to plan. (But don't ask me how my meal planning went for July...) So that's why I am going to use some resources for curriculum...but it will be very loosely, not strictly. M will not be in kindergarten for three more years. There is absolutely no need to push her now. Therapy pushes her a lot. I want our school to be fun, but structured for me, so I know what to do and have a plan to implement it. I also think she will enjoy the structure. At this point, I'm looking at a few sites for ideas. Some are Christian sources, with plenty of "other" academics included, too.
  • Hubbard's Cupboard - Detailed lesson plans. It has a curriculum for many different ages. It seems simple, and it has lots of pictures. A Christian curriculum.
  • ABC Jesus Loves Me- This may be a bit advanced for M, since it starts at age 3, but it's still an excellent resource.
  • Preschool Express by Jean Warren. Jean Warren also has lots of books at our tiny local library for preschools. Great learning resources, but not a curriculum. You can find great unit ideas though.
  • Bible Story Sundays- This is new and awesome. I want to do some major themes from the Bible, and I already see this as a great resource for ideas. I will also be able to share what we do, if I want to.
  • Various other blogs/sites that I frequently visit like ABC and 123 and The Home Teacher's Wiki site for ABC ideas. Many of the blogs I visit incorporate lots of meaningful actitivities into their lives each day, but these two sites I am including bc they have their activites so organized.

Of course my local library (especially when I can use two county (on-line) libraries, plus our church library!) is a great resource. I will continue to use it for children's books as well as preschool teaching resources. I really appreciate having two libraries (in two states) within 15 minutes of my home. Where I grew up there wasn't (and still isn't!) a local library within the school district.

I have signed us up for Community Bible Study (CBS). It's a national interdenominational organization that does a great job teaching adults and children. The children's program is awesome, too. I was part of it for two years before. I'll be starting at a new location this time though. If M doesn't go to preschool, this will be a good, structured learning environment for her to supplement Sunday school and Toddler Church.

I'm just starting to think about what to do, but it's hard since I only want to plan a bit since we may not need it for too long. Some things I hope we do before mid-October are apples, moon, family/me, Creation, and Noah's ark. We'll see what happens in reality.

Any tips for organizing my thoughts? Any recommendations for anything? I just hope I don't get overwhelmed!

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  • Homemade Magic Shell - I remember having Magic Shell once as a child. The chocolate syrup drizzled over my ice cream magically turned crispy hard. Mmm... So I was rather excited t...

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