Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Silver or gold I do not have...

My goal for Thurs. and Fri. around the house, since I keep Spencer and sometimes Annabelle at home those days, is to pick a theme based on what is going on in the world, and plan some activities.

This week, in honor of St. Patrick, I chose rainbows. As I was telling Spencer about how lepraucans are always looking for gold at the end of the rainbow (he thought that was pretty silly since they are in the sky), I was thinking of a way to lead the conversation to the idea that we shouldn't chase after money, but find peace and happiness in God. I was reminded of Peter's words in Acts 3, where he told the lame man, Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” I would love to make a card St Patrick's Day card with this theme, encouraging the recipient to find peace in God. Maybe one day.

A broad theme like rainbows leaves a lot of room for ideas, so I may have planned more than I could reasonably do with a three year old, expecially considering that he chose today to display his more-three-than-I-can-handle side. We may try a few more things tomorrow, but at least he got the concept. Here are a few things we did and some of the goals I had:


Make a rainbow book: cut Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple sheets in staggered heights. Write the name of the colors on the top of the sheets (so when they are stacked, you can see all the names). Spread out.

·         Allow child to practice writing the names of the colors on their pages.

·         Sort the pages by size (making sure you can see all of the names of the color).

·         Staple or tape rainbow together to use as reference the rest of the day.

I made the mistake of writing the letters in lower case, which he doesn't really write with, and this caused all kinds of problems...along with a little sister who like to help a little too much. But, we did get it finished (I had to finish taping it during his nap playing trains under his conforter time.

Writing,  Creativity

Rainbow art: Use a tray and spread a little of each rainbow color to make a rainbow. Use sponge brushes or fingers to spread the paint out.

·         Make rainbow handprints onto construction paper.

·         Make a rainbow print by putting construction paper directly onto the paint on the tray.

·         Practice making letters with a Q-tip or fingers, using a craft stick to clear away the lines between.

He didn't do a great job of making the rainbow, it would have been better if I had squirt bottles to place them a little better, but he did love painting with q-tips, and he liked making letters, although he insisted he had a friend named OEL (pronounced like Noel, without the N)...then he spelled it backwards, making LEO. Whatever...

Colors, fine motor skills

M&M Rainbow: Print  out the rainbow template here: Have the child put the correct color M&M (or skittle) into the spaces-then EAT THEM!!! (you can see we had finished the M&M project in the above picture and were eating them while we painted).

Color your Lunch: we found food items to eat for lunch that were the colors of the rainbow. If I had thought ahead, I might have found a blue food, but a little food coloring does amazing things! Can you spot all of the colors?
Can chicken nuggets count as yellow? In our house, they can!

Then, we decided to do a Small,Medium, Large matching...

Throughout the day, I worked on making our playroom a little more Montessori-esque. A place for everything and everything in it's place! One toy/theme per cubby. Of course, my closet (see the door on the left) is now packed, but at least it is behind a door! These are our more "educational" toys. The ones on the top are more for Spencer-what we call his "special games."

And this sits under out TV. A shelf for Annabelle and a shelf for Spencer. Matt says it looks like a parking lot, except for the house-and a purse we found at an estate sale today-I couldn't put it away yet, we just got it. One thing at a time, here!

So, despite a little but of what I like to call a "attitude malfuntion" at the grocery store (that's another post in and of itself) and really throughout the day, it looks like we still got a lot done!

Are you Average?

So, I've been watching The Revolution on ABC while folding clothes and alternately trying to get a little boy to go to sleep in his room. They have been talking about grocery shopping and how much food we toss out. They mentioned that the average 4 person family spends $175 on groceries each week, and that we throw out about 25% of the food we buy, meaning over $2000 a year. They continued on to share how buying canned spinach was such a better deal than fresh spinach (and frozen was somewhere in between), and frozen raspberries were a better deal than fresh.

Our family is obviously NOT average. Now, we have two toddlers, so that must be taken into account, and our budget for groceries does not include things like shampoo-it is basically just for food items. However, we don't even spend half of that!

Here are a few tips that I use to help me budget:
1) I am not an extreme couponer, but I do look for coupons and try to use them when I need something. However, I always try to consider two things: if there is a similar product that is cheaper, I will get that, and I only try to buy products that I would buy anyway (or maybe try something new if it is a really great deal).
2) I use the ad papers. Tuesday mail is always a highlight of my week, as I get out my notepad and look through my local ads to see what I can get a deal on this week. Then, I begin to put together a menu for the week, taking into consideration what kinds of activities we will have the next week. That way, I will know if we need to save more for eating out because we have a lot of evening activities, or if I will have time to cook a real meal. I try to keep things like chicken nuggets and deli meat in the house for days when things just don't go as planned and for lunches at home.
3) I have a weekly budget and I use cash. This way, when the money is gone, I am done. We have plenty of food at our house to make it through the week, and I can buy more next week. There are times when I do forget/need something, and I have been known to "take" from next week before the designated time, so I have a little flexibility, but then I have to know that I have less money next week to spend.
4) I use store brands. Most of the time, store brands are cheaper than sale and/or coupon prices (but not always). Most store brands are completely fine to my palate and my kids (and usually my husband) don't know the difference. If I find something that the store brand just doesn't match, I don't buy it-no point in buying something no one will eat-but we usually try it at least once.
5) One stop shopping. I try to get as much as I can at each place, with a list of what I need, so that I don't have to come back two or three times. Inevitably, I can't get out of a store spending less that $10, even if I just needed an onion!

I hope this helps if you are looking for ways to stretch your budget. Let's face it, these days, everyone could use a few extra dollars in their pocket!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Montessori, what?

Hello friends! I can't say I am a very dedicated blogger, but from time to time, I like to document what is going on and let you in on any tips I have.

In case you didn't know, Spencer started attending a montessori school in January. He is having a great time learning, a harder time adjusting to mommy not being right close all the time, but in my quest to discover all things montessori, I have stumbled upon a whole new world of montessori-inspired home schoolers.

I got excited about making all kinds of learning games for Spencer. I really need to get them laminated and a little more functional, but I wanted to test the waters to see if he would really be interested; let me tell you, he loves them! And, evidently, there are quite a bit of people putting free stuff up! FREE get's me even more excited!

But, never one to be outdone, I decided to create some of my own games. I wanted to share them with you because I think if my toddler likes them, your toddler might like them too! The above picture is one of my latest creations.

Click here to see what I have done. While they may not be the most professional (I just did them in microsoft publisher), they get the job done. Now, I don't have instructions for them, but they are fairly self-explanitory, and I will be glad to share with you what we do with them.

Be sure to leave a comment if you use one of them and let me know what you think! I am having a great time making them and hope they will be useful!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


We are starting down the road to montessori schooling, at least through preschool. Today, Living Montessori Now is giving away FREE montessori resources. You can see their website at to see how to enter the contest, PLUS, they have tons of great ideas for doing Montessori at home!