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...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cleaning Confessions

I am not a good house cleaner. We have lots of clutter around the house. I like my piles. Part of my clutter problem is that sometimes I just don't clean up after myself (like in the spare bedroom where I sew and do some paper crafting). Unlike a lot of women, I can go to bed with unwashed dishes and toys on the floor. Shameful, huh? I guess I was never really taught how to properly clean (in my teenage years I lived with my bachelor dad), and it's just not a priority for me, though I do value when we have company and the house is clean! In my mind, I'd like to start doing a cleaning task (other than dishes/laundry) on a daily basis. I figure I have to start some where. And it seems like if I plan for something daily, maybe several days a week a cleaning task will be accomplished. I've been pretty good at vacuuming on Mondays (though I often vacuum a second time in the week, too). This weekend when I was cleaning the bathrooms, I realized that I could use some help choosing cleaning products. Will you help me? Soap Scum- What's the best cleaner and method (brush, cleaning towel, or scrubbie pad) that works for you? Toilet Bowls- What's the best cleaner that works to remove stains? Though we've been in our new house for only a year, and I clean the toilet bowls on a regular basis, they are still stained! Vinyl Floors- I don't mind using vinegar and water, but if you have a suggestion, I'm all ears! OTHER?- What else do you suggest for me? I have tried Fly Lady, but it just did not work for me. Thanks for your thoughts!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Humpty Dumpty ~stART~

I love this idea of a STORY + ART =  A Great stART.  A Mommy's Adventure shared the idea, and lots of us are enjoying it.  (What a clever name, too!)

M has recently been requesting Humpty Dumpty out of The Lucy Cousins Book of Nursery Rhymes book we borrowed from the library.  A lot.  She will try to say it with me, too.  It makes me smile.

Isn't he adorable?  (Humpty not E's head.)  His very special feature is the mouth.  Usually it just smiles, but when he falls, it opens up to be a large circle...and then M screams!  So cute.  (To create, just fold circle in half, and only glue half to the paper, positioning so that it will open correctly.)

This idea is from Hubbard's Cupboard.  (This week we're working on the Walls of Jericho, and this is the very appropriate nursery rhyme for the week.)  It's simple, but fun.  If you would like some Christian-based ideas for any age child, it's a great resource!  We use the 3 year old activities.

Here M is making him scream!  haha!

I cut the egg shape.  All the body parts are a shape.  So instead of a hand shape, Humpty has a square hand.  Make sense? 

Since it wasn't obvious which shape went to what body part, I would tell M to find the "blue rectangles for shoes."  Then I had her tell me the color and shape.  It's really just a review for the colors and shapes for her, but it would be a fine learning activity for shapes and colors, too.

To read an explanation of stART go here.  To see more stART activities for this week, go here!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Noah's Ark

Before Labor Day we began our long journey of learning about Noah's Ark.  M was already familiar with this story from one of our board book Bibles.  She really enjoyed this, even though we didn't do any real rainbow projects.

We read lots of books from the library! 
  • Noah's Ark by Jerry Pinkney
  • Two By Two by Barbra Reid
  • Noah's Ark retold by Lucy Cousins (I appreciate that she "retold" it.  The story is not a new one!)
  • and a couple others that I cannot recall the title (and of course we made a trip to the library to return the books...)
Above is the B or b sorting mats.  I shrunk them to use just a half sheet of paper, but the pictures would fill the paper if I hadn't done that. 

One of M's favorite activities was playing Memory with animals.  She did really well!  We used an old checkbook box as an ark!  When one of us made a match, the animals went into the ark!

We also made a sailboat using basic shapes (except the water which was wavy).  It was fun to make, but after we made it, M called it Noah's Ark, so we added some animal stickers. 

We drew some rainbows, but we didn't do anything special with them.  If you want to see our cool fingerprint rainbow (from spring) go here.  It turned out great and still hangs on our fridge!

It's been so long we probably did a few other things that I just can't think of.

It's been a long time since we actually posted about the Bible lessons we are doing.  Life has gotten in the way, I guess.  Hopefully I'll be back to regular Bible themed posting soon!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Tour

Today Derek and I took M to tour the preschool she will be attending a month from now.  It's a speech and language classroom. 

The building is new.  An entire wing is devoted to the intermediate unit's preschool programs.  Several preschool classrooms and therapy rooms are in this wing.

Oh.  The name of the building is the X County Technical College High School.  How funny is that??

M enjoyed the play area and participated a bit in a craft.  She really enjoyed the outside recess time on the playground.  At the present time there are 8 children in the classroom.  (Eleven is the maximum number allowed.)

This is the play area.  M enjoyed the play food. 

When it was time to leave, M cried.  She was the only one to cry while we were visiting...I think it had to do with sharing...and leaving.  Oh well. 

Just wanted to share a bit of what's happening with us. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Name Pillow!

I am really trying to make an effort to get off the computer during my children's afternoon naps.  This week this is how I did it.  I made this pillow for M's birthday.  (With all the personalized things I post on this blog, her name is no secret...)  An experienced sewer/appliquer could probably whip this out in one nap...but it took me three or four.  It was really good for me to get off the computer, too.  Healthy, you know?

It was my very first time using applique.  It's obvious (especially if you blow up the picture).  There are all sorts of puckers. Corners and points are where there should be curves.  One of my seams wasn't really a seam, and I didn't notice until too I have to hand-sew it. 

(If you care, the orange fabric is from a purse I made.  It turned out well, but now I need to make something different for the fall/winter...and larger!)

Since this is for a child, I made the pillowcase removable, which wasn't part of the instructions.  I thought that part turned out well.   I had never made a pillow before, let alone a removable pillow cover that can easily be washed (if it doesn't fall apart due to my lack of sewing skills).

Pretty cool, I think.  You might disagree, but that's probably because you noticed my lack of sewing skills.  I must have been in a hurry because I can't stand that the pink border is next to the pink M.  It just is not as well balanced as I would prefer.  The overall size is 10x20.  I am pleased with how it turned out, especially since I had not used a zig zag stitch before.

Next time I would:
  • chose a variety of prints in one or two colors
  • make the pillowcase removable again
  • check all seams again...and again...before adding the next step
  • make two inch square corners in matching fabric
  • and make the borders match, but maybe contrast the square corners
  • hopefully sew a straight line
  • hopefully cut a straight line

You can buy the pattern at You Can Make This.  It's a great resource, and you get free patterns for signing up for there newsletter.  View the information for the Personalized Name Pillow here

Even if you have a lack of sewing skills, like me, You Can still Make This.  Ha ha!  I just came up with that!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jump Count

I've been really trying to figure out how to best get M involved in numbers-counting, identifying, anything!  I know that she is a very physical child, and have tried something similar to this outside with sidewalk chalk.  She was only interested for about twelve seconds though.

I wrote numbers on construction paper, laid them out in order, and started jumping and counting.  M was immediately interested.  So was E.  (He promptly went to the exersaucer so he didn't eat the paper!)

M wouldn't count when she was jumping, but she would count aloud when I would jump, so we took turns.  After about ten minutes I asked for a break!

We started out with numbers 1-6.  With her being so interested, after a couple days, I added numbers 7-10, but it seemed to be too much.  She just wanted to run down the length of the paper.

M would lay the numbers out, saying each number.  When it was time to clean up, she would do the same. 

Thank you, Crystal, from The Harris Family for another great idea.  She and I think a lot alike!  She made three games out of this, so go check it out.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009


In about five weeks we will be making some BIG changes. 

M had her speech evaluation that will determine what type of services she will get once she turns three.  The SLP evaluating her did not even complete the articulation part of the eval since she had already heard enough of M's speech to know that it would be difficult for her and it was not needed to make a recommendation of...PRESCHOOL!

After her third birthday, M will begin attending a speech and language classroom in the county's developmental preschool.  All preschools are (supposed to be) language rich, but in this classroom, M will be required to use words more than in a typical preschool.  She will get speech therapy (hopefully individual and group) right there, and the teachers are experienced in helping children find their voices.  It will be four mornings a week, and is about 35 minutes from our home (though I don't know the specifics).

I don't consider this to be official, but it won't be official until very close to the start of preschool when the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is written.  The SLP determined that preschool would be beneficial since she would need more than two half hour sessions of therapy per week to continue making good progress. 

This is what we hoped for, but this is still so hard to grasp!  We have many questions and really, it's just hard to imagine mornings with M away. 

I don't quite understand the emotions I am feeling, but it's pretty bittersweet, as you might imagine.  My baby is three years from kindergarten, yet she's going away to school...and not just in town...far away.  We do know this is what is best for M, it's just hard to comprehend what our future will look like.

Of course there are also the questions of how to prepare her for preschool.  Can you recommend some books that are appropriate for two/three year olds going to school?  I seem to be familiar with books for older ones mostly.  I know bedtime will need to change, too.  I remember hearing to change it 15 minutes at a time.  What do you think?  We'll visit the preschool, but what else can we do to prepare both M and us (the parents) for this transition?

Any thoughts you might share with us are greatly appreciated!  Thanks 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Books That Encourage Speech!!!

If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know I am passionate about helping M find her words and overcome her speech disorder called verbal apraxia.  Well, I am so excited!!  I have learned of books that specifically help children find their voice through beautifully illustrated books.  They aren't just for late talkers, they are for everyone!  A team, including a speech pathologist, has helped create these books written by Angela Holzer.  They are published by Speak With Me Books.  Since I know some of my readers also deal with apraxia and other speech problems, I wanted to share.

There are several titles, and each focuses on a different sound.
Here is a sample page.  I think M would really enjoy this, and she could help me read it, too!
Books are about $9 each, but you can get all six books at a discounted price.  There is also a CD available with slower songs on it.  We do not actually have any yet (nor have we borrowed from the library), but I'd like to get at least one book.
Check it out here.  If you place an order would you tell them I sent you?  Thanks!  Also, you might considering contacting your local library to help get these books on the shelves and accessible to children everywhere!

Monday, September 7, 2009

File Folder Games

From my days in the elementary classroom, I have appreciated file folder games! Older children can usually use them independently, and younger ones can practice a skill in a fun way. Want a free download? Read on! Integrias Academy is where Shanna, mom of seven children 8 and younger, shares her wonderful artwork and file folders for a very small cost. (They just had their seventh baby at the end of August. Baby L was recently hospitalized, and they could use some prayer support. You can read more about the family at their blog.)
I had the opportunity to review three file folder games. Though she also offers file folders for grades kindergarten to third grade and up, I choose some of her preschool games. (There are more available for the preschool level).
M's favorite is, by far, Seasons Change. She gets to dress Fox in proper clothing depending on the weather/season.
We actually haven't tried this Letter Match game where you match the lowercase envelopes to the proper uppercase mailbox. I think she'll be ready for it fairly soon though.
Busy Buzzing Numbers has the child counting the flowers and matching the proper bee to it. I cut the flowers apart and arranged them out of order. Since this is a number game, M is not interested, yet. (I have hope!)
All of these games are very cute! The drawings are great and reinforce the skills we are working on, or will be soon. It's easy to prepare the game since Shanna has completed the hard work! I just cut, laminated, and glued. (You could use card stock, but laminating will make it extra durable.)
The file folder games for older children have great variety in themes and artwork. I do hope to see more variety for the preschool age in the future. I think boys might like to see more trucks, bugs, and creatures. Everyone loves ice cream though and it's a great way to practice colors!
Interested?? These are quite affordable at $3 each. It's the same cost if she custom designs a folder game for you! Another great option, especially if you plan to homeschool for several years, is her CD. You get all 17 games, for a variety of ages, for just $15! If you'd like to see the quality for yourself before buying, just sign up to be on her email list! You get one free download with sign up! (I think I have only gotten one email in a couple of months time.)
Do you use file folder games? How do you store them? Do you design them yourself or seek help, like from Shanna? I'd love to hear about what you do!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Personalized Barrette Holder

I made this last week, but I am finally getting around to taking/posting pictures. M (not that the photo doesn't say the rest) has been wearing clips in her hair since she was about four months old. Baby clips never worked on her thick, long hair. We've lost a few since we haven't organized them. Hopefully this will work. AND it will be the first item to be hung on her wall. (We're slackers like that. Before we moved she had three items hanging! That was more than a year ago.) I was inspired by Katie's Nesting Spot, but this is my simpler version. Her directions are wonderful!
I bought a cheap unpainted oval at Wal Mart. I painted the edges with a close matching green to the scrapbooking paper I had chosen. On top of the green, I dry brushed white. I used Mod Podge to attach the paper, as well as the lettering that I had used a friend's Cricut to cut. (My next project will be using my very own Cricut! Woo-hoo!!) I chose all capital letters because I don't like the "a" and "g" to be extra loopy for a little girl's bedroom.
I used a hot glue gun for the ribbons. Now I wish they were longer and set further apart. I noticed the clips slide a little on the ribbons. If it becomes a problem, I will place a button at the bottom of each ribbon.
Something I never would have thought of is the backing. Katie suggested using felt to protect your walls. Wonderful idea!
I like this project enough that I will probably do it again, but without the ribbons-just as a decorative piece. You can see more creativeness at Creative Cats Tuesday. (a few days late!)
FYI: We have company coming this weekend and going away for a bit, so I'll be taking a short break from posting. :)

See my newer name plaques by clicking!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Adam and Eve

I will apologize now. Pictures are lacking for this post, but I will still share with you what we did last week as we talked about Adam and Eve and read it in the Bible.
My big focus attempt this week was talking about obedience. It still seems pretty hard for M to understand the word, but I'm sure she knows when she is not obeying us.
I don't like to say the fruit that was eaten from the tree was an apple since the Bible doesn't state what kind of fruit it was, but we did do some apple related activities.
  • Cut an apple open to see the star and counted the seeds. (There are always five seeds from my understanding.)
  • We made apple prints. We used red paint on yellow paper. Very sharp!
  • One special apple print was a single apple. We glued the apple seeds to the middle and M drew a stem. (We looked at an apple with a stem to choose the color first)
  • We snacked on apples and applesauce.
  • We made applesauce. (This was actually this week, but that's okay, right?)
  • We sorted "A" and "a" on two different apple mats. It is a Hubbard's Cupboard activity. You can find it here. It held M's attention very well. She also did very well sorting the letters. She was very proud of her apples, too. Find it here. (I printed these on half sheets of paper. Once again, I don't want to be wasteful of ink or paper.)

M made this easy coil snake. We looked at some pictures of snakes on-line, too. M is certainly too young to understand the reality of Satan, but I thought it was an appropriate activity.
The only book from the local library I could find was Adam and Eve: The Bible Story by Warwick Hutton. It was very clearly biblical with great illustrations.
We did watch The Beginners Bible: The Story of Creation (which included the Fall). We borrowed it from our church library for Creation week and was pleased it included this since it is so abstract.

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