Monday, March 19, 2012

Free Regular Water Ice at Rita's Tomorrow (March 20th)

Tomorrow (March 20th), is the first day of spring!   Rita's is celebrating by offering a FREE regular water ice to their customers.

Go out with your family and friends and enjoy this beautiful weather!!!  I know we will.  My oldest son has been reminding me since Saturday that Tuesday is Rita's Day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dr. Seuss Homeschool Co-Op and Party

Two weeks ago, I hosted a very fun homeschool co-op (for kids 7 and under) with two other families to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday.  I found so many great ideas online that helped make it such a fun event for the kids.  We read three Dr. Seuss' books and did some lessons and activities to go along with the books.

After welcoming the students and talking about the date (March 2nd) and the significance of it (his birthday) we did a brief history lesson about Dr. Seuss.  I found an excellent biography at, a site by Random House, dedicated to everything Dr. Seuss.  We talked about when he was born (how many years ago that was), his first book, how he got his name, when his most popular books were published, etc.  It was really interesting.

We then did our Bible lesson/devotional using the book, "Oh, The Places You'll Go."

Oh, the Places You'll Go.jpg
And, I used an idea from, 2 Teaching Mommies, to use this book to go along with the verse, Jeremiah 29:11,
11 wFor I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare1 and not for evil, xto give you a future and a hope." (ESV)

We read the Bible verse and had the children practice memorizing it.  You could also use the verse and do some copy work with it for them to practice their handwriting/printing.  We had a discussion about how the little boy didn't always know where he was going and how he was sometimes scared.  Thankfully, those who follow Jesus, are safe, and we can find comfort in the fact that He will guide our paths.  He promises us good and not harm.  

We then read,"One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish," and did some math activities and a craft to go along with that book.  We used colored gold fish as our manipulatives and our snack.

I found the math worksheets from What the Teacher Wants.  There was a free unit download with great activities and lesson plan ideas for several of Dr. Seuss' books.  THANK YOU!  I printed out the fish with numbers and word numbers on card stock, laminated them, and cut them out.  Then I had the kids work in pairs (siblings together) to match the words to the numbers.  After that, the older kids spent some time writing out the number words for practice.  We then did a graphing activity with gold fish.  The kids sorted the rainbow goldfish and then graphed them according to color.  They talked about what colors they had the most of, least of, etc.  The younger kids work on putting together different patterns with the fish.  It was so much fun!  As our craft, I gave each child a piece of 12x12 card stock and ask them to draw a variety of fish (or use some of the fish clip art) and decorate them with glitter, sequins, markers, etc.  They were all so clever and creative!

Nathan's masterpiece!


For our snacks, as if the goldfish weren't enough, we had Cat in the Hat-Hat Cake Pops that I made, Thing One and Thing Two cupcakes (blue cotton candy for the hair), and Cat in the Hat parfaits (thanks Shelly!).
Cat in the Hat Parfaits (made with jello, cool whip, and strawberries--yum!)
 Hat Cake Pops!  These were so fun to make.  I can't wait to perfect them.  It was my first time attempting this type of cake pop, so I need a little more practice.  For my cake pop general instructions go here.  

These were a hit with all the kids!

Thing One and Thing Two Cupcakes!  (FYI-you can find cotton candy at the Dollar Tree).  
Thank you Katie!

Our Thing One and Thing Two for the day!

Our last book we read was the classic, "The Cat and the Hat."  After we read it we discussed, "Now what would you do, if your mother asked you?"  You know, the last line of the book.  We talked about the importance of always telling the truth.  God does not want us to lie, even if we think we may get in trouble.  We also talked to the children about safety and how we shouldn't open the door for strangers, even if it is the Cat in the Hat.  We did this super cute and clever craft made from toilet paper rolls that I found from the site called, Stuff by Ash.  All of the detailed instructions can be found here.  The kids really enjoyed making them.  

It was a really great co-op and the kids had so much fun.  I was so impressed by how attentive they were throughout all the stories and activities.  I highly recommend doing a Dr. Seuss party every year on, or around, March 2nd.  And you can even make a Cat in the Hat pizza for dinner like we did.
I just made my usual pizza dough (all white flour this time) and shaped it into a hat.  I then did layers of olive oil and cheese (white) and sauce and pepperoni (red).  What do you think?

And you can also make your own special paper plate "Hat" for when you read the book:
(Inspiration for this idea from I Can Teach My Child, one of my favorite homeschool blogs).


Thank you, Dr. Seuss, for all of your wonderful books.  We love them and love how they teach our children how to read.  What fun memories too!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Free Redbox Game Rental this week! (through 3/8)

Every day, through March 8th, you can rent a free video game through Redbox for the first night.  You just have to reserve it online, pick it up the same day you reserve it, and make sure to return it by 9:00 on the following day.  We took advantage of this yesterday and got a Wii game that my boys are enjoying.  I just reserved another game that I will pick up today.  It is a great way to try out some games before deciding whether you should buy them or not.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DIY: Cake Pops!

I was so excited to finally be able to try to make my own cake pops for a recent Valentine's Day Party I hosted.  I got my inspiration from  here on A Beautiful Mess.  She has excellent directions with great pictures.  I am still working on getting better pictures on here.  My boys helped me the first time I did it, which made it a little bit more difficult and messy, but fun, none-the-less.  What you need:
1.  A box of your favorite cake mix and the ingredients to make the  cake (I used Red Velvet).
2.  A container of frosting (2 cups worth) or make your own butter cream frosting. (I used cream cheese flavored frosting).
2.  2-3 bags of candy melts in a variety of colors.
3.  50 lollipop sticks (the longer ones work better).
4.  A Styrofoam holder of sorts (I used a piece from inside our TV box and my boys decorated it).  You can also find foam rectangles at a craft store.

First make and bake the cake according to the box directions.

Next, the messy step....once the cake is cool, break it up into a big mess and dump in the frosting.  With your fingers, blend it very well.

Next, use your hands to roll the cake/frosting mixture into about 50 balls--the size of golf balls.  (No picture of this, but you can see the balls below).  Freeze them for 30-60 minutes or put in refrigerator for two hours.  While waiting, have your children decorate the Styrofoam.  Great job boys!

Next, place the candy melts in a microwave safe bowl with about 1 tablespoon of vegetable/canola oil.  Melt them and stir (try 60-90 seconds).  Next, dip your lollipop stick into the melted candy and then push it about 2/3 of the way into the cold cake balls.  Next, carefully dip into melted candy, being careful the ball doesn't fall off.  We also used a spoon to help spread some more candy over the ball.  This step is tricky as the melted candies cool very fast and sets quickly too.  The temperature of the melted candy is key to easy dipping.  You may have to put it in the microwave again.  Let the excess drip back into the bowl and then stick the lollipop stick into the Styrofoam to set.  You can then add more decorations, sprinkles, other colors of melted candies, etc.  The possibilities are endless!  Have
fun and get creative!

In the picture above, you can see the balls as well as the spoon technique.  My boys were such great helpers!

Our lovely cake pops!  I was very pleased with how they turned out for it being our first time making them.  Can't wait to do it again!

 I had some extra candy bags and placed them over the pops t keep them fresh.  Oh, don't refrigerate them as the candy may crack.  These cost me less than $5 to make 50 cake pops (well, probably more like 42 since there were some casualties).  Can you believe Starbucks charges $1.50 each?!?!? Maybe I should start a business?!?!?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DIY: Bulletin Board Re-Do

Sorry  I have been MIA for a very, very long time.  But good news, I have several fun posts coming up over the next few days and weeks of DIY projects, homeschooling fun, and yummy recipes.  The first one is this:

Is that not one of the ugliest bulletin boards you have even seen?  This was a trash pick from 4 months ago and it actually says "Trash Please" on the back!  It smelled of smoke, has that terrible stain, and was in, over all, bad shape.  I thought, "I could use a bulletin board for my classroom, I'll take it home."  It has been sitting for months in the garage, so thankfully the smell is gone.  

Next, I pulled out my scrapbooking supplies and found some really cute and brightly colored 12 x 12 paper that was probably 5-6 years old.  I arranged 12 pieces and stapled them down and had a great new cover for my board.  I found a cute border in the education section at Joann Fabrics for $1.60 and added that around the ugly edge.  My sweet boys stood on my desk while I hammered the nails in, and....

There you have it a brightly colored, fun bulletin board for my classroom that was FREE and only took about 15-20 minutes to redo!  I took someone else's trash and made into something useful and beautiful for us.  Now I am excited to put stuff on it!  (Don't mind my messy desk).  What do you think?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shutterfly Christmas Cards!

Once again, I am here to rave about and give ten thumbs up to Shutterfly and their awesome holiday card collection.  And, of course, all the other fun stuff like calendars, photo books, photo gifts, and more.  I must say again, I love their photo books.  People rave about them when they come over and see them on display.  The custom path options, allow you to customize every aspect of each page.  It is incredible!  

Now back to the cards....I was at a Shutterfly HouseParty today (thank you Meredith) and got to see, first hand, real samples of some of cards in the new collection.  I love all the beautiful, clever, cute, fancy (all of the above) designs.  There has to be a perfect card for everyone out there.  And, you can customize them too, with options like changing the amount of pictures, the text, and the layouts.  I discovered last year, that they offer "story" cards, where you can actually write your Christmas letter in them.  I am hoping to find another one like that this year!  I browsed the website recently and have come across some fun ones...the problem will be narrowing it down to one (or two)!  Here is a look at a few that caught my, if I could only get my pictures to look this good too!  
Hearts and Home 5x7 Folded Card (this could be a "story" card for those letters you like to write)

Here is a religious one that has a nice design:
Blessing of Christ

And the flat cards are really nice and are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and designs.  You can even put pictures on the back!
Top Ten Reasons Card

And here is another option for those who like the Christmas letter idea, but don't want to include an extra piece of it all on the card!
Holiday Letter Christmas Card

I hope you enjoy browsing the website too and can find the perfect holiday card for 2011.  Check out Shutterfly for all your holiday photo wants and needs.  You will not be disappointed!  Oh, and right now, the cards are 40% when you use the code CARD40 (not sure when it expires).

I must also let you know that Shutterfy's customer service is top-notch.  I tell you that from experience.  I have called them at least a dozen times for as long as I have been a customer and they have always been very friendly and have taken care of my issues promptly and to my satisfaction.

(By the way, these opinions are all my own.  I am entering a promotion to see if Shutterfly likes my blog review of their holiday cards.  If I am chosen, I will get 25 free cards.  I was not otherwise compensated for this review).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Photo Cards from Shutterfly

Faith Love Family Religious
Unique designs that are as unique as you. Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.