Preschool Corner, or I know we learned stuff, but what?

048 So, I’ve come to the conclusion, at least right now Superman is the more natural reader.  He seems to pick up the new books very quickly, but Batman just acts like I’m torturing him when I make him read.  Princess continues to have fun helping me find letters.  I’m just not up to teaching 3 of them to read at once.  I know, I’m such a wimp.

We’ve continued to have most of our readings related to what we’re studying, and so we read a few books about Washington, I kind of had to stretch to say this is related, but I’m going to pretend it is because dragonflies are the state insect.

We also wrote books to read to ourselves, that’s the picture above.  If you want to read more about that go to our bookmaking adventures.

005 Hmmm, I know we did stuff, but what?  Oh, that’s right.  We’ve started to add.  And I had fun sneaking in a math lesson.

We’ve continued our studies of what was going to be Asia, but has turned into China…….  My library just had way too many cool books on China, and that’s when I discovered there is a limit to how many books I could check out.

In the United States we’ve been learning about Washington, which inspired our Science for the week.

018 We made a volcano and experimented with making lava rocks out of rice krispie treats.  The difficulty in showing pictures from this, Princess decided she didn’t want to wear clothes, so about half the pictures are of her in just underwear……..  That girl.

007  I was doing a presentation for our local MOPS group, so we did a bunch of crafts so I could have samples.  We made wooden spoon puppets, clothespin dolls, dragonflies, and an egg carton creation I haven’t written about yet.  It turned out good I brought all of the visuals, because we didn’t get the spot we were supposed to, and so I didn’t get to show my wonderful powerpoint presentation.  Really, you would have sat back and said “That was wonderful.”  I used this as an excuse to spend way too much time reorganizing on here of labels and such.  I’m only halfway through and I still have a bunch to go.  It’s slowly coming together, “Slowly, slowly, slowly, said the sloth.”
And, yes that is my daughter using my nice big sewing scissors, she is cutting fabric with them, so it’s okay.


Hah, apparently I liked this enough I was going to put this in here twice, because I just came over to put this in again.  But really, it’s so VERY true.

We went for a walk, which started off with the boys riding their bikes and me pulling the wagon full of paper to recycle, and ended with the boys taking turns pulling the wagon full of their bikes, sword, shield, helmet, ummmm I don’t remember what else.


We went to the park and the kids had fun for a little bit, but then I discovered the problem with going to the park with a potty training little girl, she can’t just go behind a bush and go potty, so we had to hike back to our house, and meanwhile the boys are complaining about leaving the park.  So, note to self make sure to bring pool card so I can get to the bathrooms next time.

So, I think that was our week, more or less.  It feels like I’m missing something, but this is what I see in the pictures, so that must be all we did.  Or all I documented in pictures.
Now, head on over to Homeschool Creations to see what other are doing to learn this week.

stART: Sir Small and the Dragonfly

This is such a cute and fun book, and it let me do a craft I had been thinking of ever since I saw that dragonflies are the state insect for Washington.
Supplies: old-fashioned clothespin (also called a doll clothespin), coffee filter, washable markers,  2 pipe cleaners cut in half (I had to fight Batman off of these to have enough for the craft), googly eyes, scissors, and glue

Start off by coloring your clothespin and the coffee filter.  Superman totally covered every single square centimeter of his.  I don’t think it was possible to add another bit of color to it.


Next spray your coffee filter with a spray bottle full of water.  Your kids will be very excited if you let them do this.  Just watch them, or else they might do like Superman do and so completely and totally soak it that you can’t put together their dragonfly until it dries out some.

Hmmm, I tried to get a picture so you could see what I was talking about, but it didn’t turn out so good.   Basically, scrunch up the coffee filter at the “neck” of the clothespin, and use one of the pipe cleaners to twist around it and hold the wings in place.  Put the other pipe cleaners on the bottom and wrap the other around it.  Does this make sense?


Glue on the googly eyes, and you’ve got a super cute dragonfly.  You could also call this a butterfly.  Though, I’ve usually seen the butterfly version with the spring loaded clothespin.

In order of who made it: Batman, me, Princess, Superman’s is off somewhere probably chasing monsters.

Head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures to get more great book inspired ideas.
Oh, and extra points to whoever can tell me why these are not really dragonflies.
And one more day before I draw the winner of the CSN giveaway.

Crafts for kids

Or, I’m hoping I can put this up, because I really worked hard on it.  ANd I can’t find a way to do it that isn’t horribly confusing, so I’ll just copy and paste and grumble about people double booking stuff…..  Growl, this didn’t post on Monday like I thought it did, and I’m just now discovering this.
•Make sure you plan adequate time
•Don’t plan too complex for your kid’s age.
•What is your patience and mess tolerance level
•Realize it will not turn out the way you want it too. Accept that and go on.

•Stickers image
•Cutting with lots of supervision, and only straight lines. Expect to get a lot of confetti
•Gluestick and paper
•Beginning to color, if you’re leery of them coloring everywhere buy Color Wonder
•Fingerpaint, again Crayola has a Color Wonder version of this.
•Plan to take a bath after any major project.

•You can start to plan more complicated crafts 
•Glue bottle, with A LOT of supervision.
•Glitter glue, with a lot of supervision.
•Collages, they start actually cutting out things rather than confetti now.
•Beads are great for fine motor skills.  image
•This is the perfect age for play-dough and model magic creations. Model Magic is fun because you can let it dry.
•Still plan on taking a bath after any major project.

•If you’re brave you can face the challenge of glitter. Do this over a cookie sheet, and preferably outside.
•It can be really fun now to introduce painting with different objects. I will warn you flowers are frustrating to paint with because they break. 
•They might be coloring in the lines more, but that depends on your child. So you can do more detailed things for coloring.


Feed the Pig– as a sidenote Princess still asks to play this game a year later.


How to make a barn– there are so many things to make from the milk carton shapes boxes.


Tin Can Stilts


bird nests– I apparently didn’t do a detailed explanation of how to do this, so it’s roughly in the middle of that post..


I’m still writing this post




And don’t keep stamp pads where your sleeping kids can get to them……….

Sandra Lee: Sesame Chicken Drummettes

So, does anyone else upon hearing her name get the song “Sandra Dee” from Grease stuck in their head?  I do, every time, but it’s the short version sung at the end, where she’s saying goodbye to her “good girl image.”

Oh, wait you came here to read about a recipe, not my thoughts on Grease, and it’s really bad sequel.  So, yes I cooked last week, I actually cooked several of her recipes.

Sesame Chicken Drumettes


  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken drumettes (about 12) (I used 3 pounds, and it’s a good thing I did)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

In a large ziploc bag combine the teriyaki, sherry, sesame seeds (which I think I forgot), and shake it until it seems like it’s mixed together.  I more or less doubled the recipe, but it’s hard to tell because I just poured stuff in that day.  Add in the chicken and shake to distribute.  Ideally marinate for a long time.  In the reality that is my world, remember to do this about 20 minutes before you need to start cooking.  Oh, and about 1 pound of the chicken was marinated in barbecue sauce.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and start transferring the drumettes to the sheet.  I had enough for about two cookie sheets, and I kept the barbecue ones slightly separate.  Bake until they are brown, about 15 minutes.

Mix the barbecue, honey, and oil and brush them on the drumettes and flip them and then cook for 5 more minutes.  Then flip again and brush with the sauce again and bake another 5 minutes.

Pull them out and feed your apparently starving kids.  I kid you not, my kids outate the combination of Jeff and I.  I got to eat 4 of these, Jeff ate 3, and the kids each ate at least 6.  I think Superman ate 8, and a large amount of rice and salad.  And with all that food in them they did not pass out in a food coma, I don’t know how.

Now, head on over to I Thank My Mother and see how often you can get that silly song stuck in your head as you read the other posts.

A Fun Great Reading and Writing Activity

So, this is one of those great early learning activities that is better the closer they are to reading and writing.

Supplies: stickers, magazines, what have you whatever they can use to create a story, a booklet (I used these)

My kids used this:

Go Diego Go Pictures for Stories


All you do is turn them loose with glue, scissors and whatever they’re using to make their story.  I explained to mine that they could glue their pictures in the box on the top half and I would write out the story on the bottom half.  This is a great early writing activity because so often kids get stuck with what should I write?  This solves it for them.

Here’s Superman’s story as narrated to me (actually it’s one mini-story per page):


Diego went with his friend Diego and they went into the building.





047 He goes skating on the snow, and then he goes to the car and he swings with his little jaguar and he tells rescue pack to change into something and then he goes to bed and he never gets up because he’s sick.




048 “I save all the animals,” said Diego.  And then he saves the tree frog.  He tells them to jump out of the water and then he takes them to another tee and then he goes to bed.


049 And then the sloth climbs backwards and then he goes to bed.  And then he saves the really fast animal.  THE END


That’s when he saves his pet jaguar.  His pet jaguar was looking for his mommy.  And Diego found his mommy.  That’s how he saved him.



And then his camera Click finds an animal that eats ants and the penguin.

I left that one with the space for the words, so you can see what the book looks like.  Superman is working on his second book now.  And the kids LOVE this!



Head on over to ABC and 123 for some other great ideas people are adding as you read this.

Clothespin Dolls

Supplies needed: old-fashioned clothespin, also called a peg pin; fabric (optional), matchsticks or pipe cleaners, markers, glue


1.  Let your kids have fun coloring away (Why don’t I close the blinds for these pictures?).  For this we used ordinary washable markers.


2.  Now let them have at your fabric scraps.  This is a perfect project to use up all those little bits that you hate to throw away.  Sadly, I had just started throwing all those littlle bits right before I started this, but oh well.

005 007
Okay, I just added those because I like those pictures of Superman and Princess.

3.  Start gluing away.  Princess is a firm believer in use the whole bottle on every project.

End Results:
018 010
Superman’s creation: Blue Arrow; and Batman’s creation: Superman, I kid you not
012 017
Mine: Princess Aurora (would have been better if I’d gotten yarn out); Princess: Batman, yes Batman wears pink in her world.

Hmmmm, I just noticed that while it’s looking just fine in Live Writer when I get to it being posted it gets all screwed up.  Must fiddle with this more.

Wooden Spoon Puppet

Materials: wooden spoon, fabric, yarn, sequins, what do you feel like?


Color like crazy.  Actually they were more concerned with coloring the wooden shapes we’ve just bought to make a fishing set……

Glue on accessories as you like, add fabric, whatever.  I taped on the dress using duct tape.
024 021 022 023
Batman insisted his didn’t need anything else.  Princess is modeling mine, which she decided to adopt.  Superman’s is two-sided monster, can you tell he’s growling.

The last craft I featured at MOPS will be published on Thursday as part of our stART activity for the week.

Organizing All of your newfound craft stuff

I am not really going to claim I am super organized, but I am going to show you what somewhat works for us, that you probably have, or can get fairly easily.

This is a small bookcase from IKEA.  On it I have most of the kid’s craft stuff.  As you can see organization is still in progress.
In the pencil boxes I have stickers, markers, crayons, scissors, more stickers, more crayons and markers, some glue, small animals for learning games, stamps, and whatever small items fit in there.
In the shoe boxes are wooden supplies: clothespins, popsicle sticks, matchsticks, clothespin doll stands, dowel rods.  In the other shoe boxes are yarn.008
On the side you can also see a box that has our paints.  The top shelf has some workbooks, beads organized by shapes, a small box full of cards the kids can “write.”

This shelf is mostly my stuff, but it now houses googly eyes, sequins, beads, buttons, and ribbons.  By the way, I am always on the lookout for more baby food jars.

This is in the same closet as the bookshelf above.  I bought a bunch of the hanging rods from IKEA.  In the baskets are all the bottles of glue I bought at the Back to School sales that will last us through this year.  I kid you not, we probably go through at least 20 bottles in our house a year.  Come to think of it I could probably put the paint bottles in this as well….. 
The hooks you can barely see underneath hold pencil bags on them of small stuff that fits really well in there.  I’ve put together a craft kit on the go for each of the kids that has a glue stick and scissors in it.  They usually will use this to complete animal booklets or other things like that I’ve made for them.

This is where the supplies the kids have free access to are.  Here, I’ve got their coloring books some markers and crayons.  Occasionally there are scissors or glue sticks in there, but they’re not supposed to be.  Also in there are my dust pan and a plastic tea set for Princess.

Here’s my general rules for crafting:
1.  Make sure you have enough time to complete the craft.
2.  Figure out what works for you.  I’ve figured out multi-step crafts that have to take time between steps don’t really work here.  I usually forget to go back and complete them.
3.    Don’t forget to leave clean up time, I all too often forget to do this.
4.  Let your kids have fun, don’t worry about the product.  It’s about the process.  Enjoy it.

Way too Many Cool places to find crafts

I thought about saying just look at my blog roll, but that would be incomplete, because my blog roll is not up to date, and besides I want to categorize this somewhat.
Features all sorts of crafts (for parents and kids)
4 Crazy Kings
5 Orange Potatoes
Cheerios Underfoot
Casa Camacho
Katie’s Nesting Spot
Features Kids crafts
Catholic Icing– obviously these are religious themed crafts
Fun with Mama
Little Wonder’s Days
Also includes learning activities
A Mommy’s Adventures
Almost Unschoolers
Bubbles, Balloons, and Blessings
Brimful Curiosities
Along the Way
Buffaloes and Butterflies
Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn
Confessions of a Homeschooler
Always Something to Learn
Chasing the Goose
Delightful Learning
Excellence in Early Childhood Education
Frugal Family Fun
Homeschool Creations
Inspirations Surrounds Creativity Abounds
Joyful Learner
Tired, Need Sleep
The Activity Mom
Superheroes and Princesses
Sewing School
Pocketful of Posies
Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns
Mom Tried It
Mama Smiles
Mama to 3 Blessings
Mama Jenn
Living With Fairies
As you can see, most of the ones also feature learning activities.  It’s really hard to do too many crafts without it straying into learning things.  These are only the ones I’m following, and that’s not all of them.  I didn’t want it to go on forever and ever and ever.   It kind of already does.
Next part coming up, organization and such.

Great craft supplies to buy

So, I tried writing this post on my lap top while Princess was taking a bath, but I kept having to stop and feed the dolphins, and throw toys for the dolphin to catch, so……….

I’m posting this on Monday night so it should come out right about when I’m talking to our MOPS group from our church.  I’m telling them all about the wonderful crafts you can do with your kids and all sorts of other stuff.  I wanted an easy to find thing for them to be able to read:
Back to School sale:
24 pack Crayola crayons- they’re about $.25
10 pack of Crayola markers- about $.88
Elmer’s Glue- $.22
Elmer’s Gluesticks- $.22 for a 2 pack
Fiskars scissors- about a dollar (buy a lot of these I swear something eats our scissors)
Pencil sharpeners
construction paper
spiral notebooks
notebook paper
pencil boxes (the cheap kind that you get at Wal-Mart for 3 for a dollar, you’re going to need a place to store the stuff)

I’d actually suggest getting several of the above items while they’re at a great price.  I usually make it a goal for that month or so to spend about $5-10 each time I go grocery shopping on school supplies.  That way I can get a lot, but not break my budget by buying it all at once.  Notice, this is most of the stuff your elementary age kid has on their supply list.  I’ve had the best luck with Crayola and Fiskars, so that’s why I put those particular names.  Rose Art has come up in quality a lot recently, so there’s probably not the problem there used to be.

You could get the Crayola or Rose Art watercolor paint, but I’ve noticed the colors tend to be muddy, so I haven’t found a good watercolor yet.
003random picture, because I like to have pictures in my posts.

Things to buy at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or whatever craft store you go to:
paint- I like Crayola best, but they’re only sold in sets of 3, and I always run out of one of the three colors, so I’ve tried the ones at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s but the red just isn’t as good, it seems more pink to me.
specialty craft scissors- they can often be found at Michaels in the dollar aisle
stamps and stamp pads- these are never ending, so just choose ones you think you’ll use, I buy them on clearance often.
popsicle sticks- or other small wooden things
fun foam
felt- you can get 4 sheets of these for a dollar, and there are so many things to do with this
pipe cleaners- I have to hide these or Batman will create this:
I try to buy these when they’re on sale.  I get the fliers from most of the craft stores in the area and just go to whichever one has the sale.

Trash to Treasure items:
containers of all sorts and sizes- butter, oatmeal, cereal boxes, milk cartons, you name it
plastic lids
lids from juice cans
if you’re feeling adventurous chip bags, or the like
egg cartons (NEVER throw these out, unless you go through a lot of eggs)
shoe boxes (save every single one you can get a hold of, especially if you have an elementary ages kid, because there are so many school projects that use these)

Things from the grocery store:

Okay, that’s all I’m thinking of right now.  I’ll probably come back later on and add to this. 
And, here’s a couple of other posts I wrote before on this topic:
Crafts We Love
Great Art Supplies and What You Use Them For
I’m also slowly going through and categorizing my crafts by what materials I used in them, so here’s a few categories:
Bible Crafts
Crayons (that all impressive 1, I suppose all that coloring…..)
Fun Foam (there will be more than one as I finish going through)
kid crafts
scissors and glue

And the best way I’ve found to organize all the ideas you find online is Evernote.  The key to is to tag whatever you’re looking at as soon as you clip it to Evernote because then you’ll be able to find it.  There’s also an Iphone app that I use when I’m out and about and see an idea (usually when sitting in waiting rooms and I take a picture and store it away for later).

Crafts featured tonight to follow after this post, as well as a fairly extensive list of great places to find kid crafts.