Maine: The Treasure Chest

I mentioned yesterday that I didn’t find a whole lot of books on Maine.  Most of the ones I found were about light houses.  Apparently, there are a lot of light houses up in Maine.


This particular one isn’t exactly a true story, but it is based off a compilation of several true stories.

The Sea Chest is a story about a young girl and her family who live on an island tending the lighthouse.  One night a bad storm washes a sea chest up on their island, and what was found inside.


I previewed this book a couple of days beforehand, and fell in love with the story.  It’s so touching and is a great multi-generational story of love.  I don’t want to give away any of the details, but it was so sweet.




Before we read the book I had them guess what was going to be found in the book. 


As you can guess they mostly thought treasure, gold, shells.  Batman guessed a manta ray, just to be silly.


Afterwards they drew what was really in the chest.


Finally they drew what they would put in the chest.  This related to the key plot point of the story, but I figured you probably can’t guess what Princess drew.




It was a bittersweet day for us because one of the families in our group is moving to South Austin and so they won’t be joining us regularly.  I’m gonna miss getting together with them weekly, but we’re gonna still get together from time to time.


I’m sure God will bring another family to join our little group, that’s how we got the family that just moved.  I ran into her at the library while getting books for our geography group.

I’m gonna link up to these fun parties:
learning laboratory at mama smilesShibley Smiles

Advent Project part 1

So, I showed you my plans and pictures of bits and bobs that I had completed, but I’m going to show you step by step and pictures of what it looks like completed, because I figure there’s got to be quite a few of you who are visual learners.  Also, my plans are still revising as I go along.

Supplies needed for days 1-12: cardstock, 6×9 manila envelopes, small boxes to hold peg people, plastic animals, green felt, pipe cleaners, green fabric, popsicle sticks, blue paper, peg people (3 men, 4 women, 2 babies, 1 boy, and 1 giant [I get my peg people from Casey’s Wood Products]), acrylic paint (for peg people, could use markers)
Day 1: Creation- 2 peg dolls for Adam and Eve, and various small plastic animal toys from around the house, and a fat quarter of green fabric (could also be a sheet of felt).  Additional activities: watch What’s In the Bible DVD 1, part 1.  Potentially also play with the Creation bean bags.

Day 2- Fall of Man- felt leaves with pipe cleaners for the fig leaves, a small “fruit” made from beads and pipe cleaners, they’re going to make a snake from play dough for acting the story out.  I hot glued the beads on to make it “more” child friendly, but it’s still not the best for little guys unsupervised.  Also watch “What’s in the Bible DVD 1, part 2.”

Day3- Noah- play Memory or Go Fish with the cards found for this game (I printed two copies of the each page) and act out the story using animals from Day 1, and the 2 new peg dolls.  Watch “Veggietales: Noah’s Umbrella.”

Abraham game
Day 4- Abraham- Abraham’s Journey game and act out the story using the peg dolls.  Watch “Veggietales: Abe and the Amazing Promise.”
Day 5-Isaac- ram craft from Little Blots.  I currently don’t have any random extra stories or videos aside from one I wrote.

Day 6-Jacob, Jacob’s ladder craft, read the story of Jacob and Esau.
Day 7- Judah,  act out the story with popsicle sticks.  I’m planning on emphasizing Judah’s growth from planning to sell Joseph to making himself responsible for Benjamin’s safety.  Also watch “Veggietales: The Ballad of Little Joe”  or listen to the Adventures in Odyssey.

Day 8- Moses, since I want this also to be the story of God’s Redemptive history, I’m including people not specifically in Jesus’ lineage.  We’ll act out the story of God acting to save Moses as a baby.  Afterwards we’ll watch “Veggietales: Moe and the Big Exit.”  Or possibly “Prince of Egypt.”
Day 9- Rahab-make a red bookmark by braiding yarn.  Thanks to Annette for this suggestion!  We’ll watch “Veggietales: Josh and the Big Wall.”

Day 10- Ruth- We’ll build an obstacle course and go through it in pairs, like Ruth stayed with Naomi.  We’ll also watch “Veggietales: Duke and the Great Pie War.”

Day 11- David- Read the story and act it out with the peg dolls.  Then we’ll watch “Veggietales: Dave and the Giant Pickle.”
Day 12- King David- Read the story of David bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem.  Make crowns for ourselves and decorate them.
And here are the printables I’ve created so far for this project, I have a small paper for each day that goes in or on the container, the dolls for acting out Judah’s story, and the angels for Jacob’s ladder.
Advent Printable(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();
And that is all I have done to show in pictures.  I’m hoping to get the rest of it all finished tonight/tomorrow to share on Saturday.  I’ve changed my original plan somewhat.  Tightened up some parts, and added in some others.We PlayKatie's Nesting Spot


We’ve started making our slew of valentines for friends, and I wanted to share a cool printable I found thanks to Confessions of a Homeschooler linking it.  Over at Christian Preschool Printables they’ve got a slew of Jesus loves me stuff (link goes to page 3 where the printable I used is), and I printed off the pop-up Valentine card to make.

I also printed off the Jesus loves me booklet to help my kids learn the song, since it’s one of the ones we’ll be singing.  I plan to have them practice every day until we go there just to make sure they know it.

Now, on to the two sets of Valentines we’ve finished so far.

supplies: mini-cupcake liner, green construction paper, red or pink construction paper (or you could use the printable), markers, scissors, glue


1.  Smash the cupcake liners so they’re more or less flat.  Then let your child happily color them as much as they want.  It looks more flowery if there’s lots of color on it, but it’s their art.  And it looks so cheerful when you have mounds and mounds of them spread out on the table in front of you.


2.  Take your construction paper and cut it in half.  Then hamburger fold that piece in half.  This means you get two cards from one piece of paper.


3.  I divided the green construction paper into fourths, this cut down on any ideas of making monstrously huge stems or anything like that.  Then I told the kids to cut a thin long piece for the stem.

By the by, like my oh so professional typing paper background?


4.  To make this a bit of a math activity each kid drew a number to tell how many leaves to draw.  Superman drew 5.  Which he enthusiastically mutilated his construction paper to make.  Happily glue on leaves.

 5. Glue on your cupcake liner at the top.  Batman added in the step of fringing the cupcake liner after it was glued on, which I thought added a rather adorable twist to it.

If you want you could use one of the phrases from the printable I’m including, we ended up not using them because the kids decided to turn these cards into get well soon cards for a sick friend.


This one is a bit more complicated.
Supplies: printable, contact paper, tissue paper, yarn, hole punch, markers


1.  Cut tissue paper into miniscule pieces.  This is perfect for practicing cutting, or for any kids (cough cough Princess) who like to make confetti.


2.  Get out a piece of contact paper, for each of the kids I cut one that is about 12 inches or so, and I was able to get easily 30 necklaces from one set of it, so you probably want to make it smaller depending on how many you’re trying to make.
I taped the contact paper to the floor and let the kids start covering it in the tissue paper.  I tried to get them to keep it flat, with mixed success.


3.  Sandwich their creation in a second piece of contact paper.  Then start tracing hearts.  You could just freehand them, but every time I do they end up looking funny.


4.  Hole punch the heart and thread yarn through.  I cut our yarn about 18 inches.


5.  Meanwhile have your kids trace the words to get in some writing practice and sign their names.


6.  Put a bit of double sided tape on the bottom, and a second piece to help secure the necklace, and you’ve got yourself a very cute card.


Or twelve.  Only a lot more to go………..
valentine cards
Click on picture to go to the printable.
I’m linking this up to:

abc button

My phonics reading game

Well, there weren’t many suggestions on where to get some quick phonics games, aside from a suggestion of getting Happy Phonics, which I’ve heard is awesome, but I don’t want to buy another curriculum.  I was really looking more for a couple of quick games that were online somewhere that I could print.

And, so I made up our game in a few minutes.  I’m probably going to make a second game for the rest of the short A words they use rather than having my kids do the worksheets, but I’m not going to share that since I’m just going to copy their pictures, and that would be violating copyright…
short vowel game

Supplies needed: printable (click on the picture)
scissors to cut pieces apart

How we played it.  First I cut the pieces apart so the word and picture were still attached to each other.  That let them look at the word and know which picture went with it.  I didn’t want them thinking the picture for mug went with the picture for cup.

Then I finished cutting it apart, and only passed out about half of the cards.

This kept the game at about a 5 minute length, which meant we got to play several rounds during their attention span, rather than just one or two………
This particular time we did it as a Go Fish variation, but it could easily be used for memory, or any of the other little kid card games.

Math Monday: graphing

We’ve done some graphing before, but not huge amounts.  Partially because our math curriculum doesn’t really cover graphing yet, and partially because I’m lazy.

And laziness was the gestalt for this activity.  Mainly, I didn’t want to fix the kids breakfast, and I remembered Phyllis over at All Things Beautiful writing a post about making snacks and using it to write a recipe.

snack 1
Well, I knew my kids couldn’t write the recipe, so I made up a worksheet for them real fast.

And of course, right after I’d printed up our first recipe I realized that I hadn’t laid out those ingredients, so I made a second one.

snack 2
No really, I made two different ones for this.  And even after we’d started I realized I’d forgotten to leave a place for M&M’s on the chart.

And if you’d like to use either one, just click on the picture and that will take you to the page to download.

015Before I let them have at it I set up a few ground rules.  Mainly you had to have at least one scoop of each item, and whenever you did the scoops you had to then make sure to color in one square for each scoop.  That took some demonstrating, because as I said I haven’t done as many graphs as I should have.

What followed was a frenzied few minutes of happily getting as much food as they could fit into those little bowls. Hmph, it won’t let me watermark the other one without messing up the picture.

And yes, that is Princess wearing a tank top in the middle of January, I bought it for her earlier this week thinking “summer clothes, that I can fiddle with,” and she’s refused to take it off since I bought it.  That girl……..
And they happily munched on their breakfast all through school that day.

We did do some extension activities, of looking at which thing they had the most of, and what they had the least of.  Superman kept pointing out that he had “no jelly beans, because I don’t like jelly beans.”  He was very worried about this, but was quite happy to eat the other food.

Head on over to Joyful Learner to see some more fun math ideas.

Christmas Around the World: Germany


As hinted at yesterday, and as I said at my post over on ABC and 123, we’ve started a Christmas Around the World Unit (follow the link for the outline of my plans for the whole thing), and we’re having lots of fun with it so far.  We’ve finished up Germany, and are mostly done with Iceland, so you’ll see posts about that next week.



We started off reading The Gingerbread Man and making gingerbread cookies.  Actually, the first recipe I made wasn’t for cookies you can roll out, so we had to make two batches.  The kids “suffered” through more cookies (the final working recipe is the one I included in the printable from Jan Brett’s website, which again if you haven’t been there go spend a few days drooling over all the free printables she’s created.)  And she’s got some awesome printables to go with her Gingerbread Baby books.  That, and Jolanthe just put up earlier this week a whole slew of cool gingerbread activities, and apparently that’s her post today.



Next, we went over to Jan Brett’s website again (can you tell how much I love it?) and went to her mural page and printed off the houses for my kids to create houses (and no that’s not a picture of my kids coloring houses, but I wanted a picture).  I told them the story of Hansel and Gretel to go with this.  Ahhhh, yes the nice gruesome Christmas tale of Hansel and Gretel.  Oh, it’s not really Christmas is it?


Of course after we did that I saw this cool post of a paper bag foldable gingerbread house that is way too cute.  Why does that always happen?


And we couldn’t learn about Germany without learning about Saint Nicholas and Saint Nicholas Day, my kids thought getting presents put in shoes was hilarious.  I thought the fact that some kids try to use the biggest shoe they can find hilarious.  And to go with it what a better way to learn than to watch the Veggietales version of Saint Nicholas, I love that movie!


Here’s what the completed lapbook looks like (the words were made in outline using wordart so the kids could trace them and practice writing).


To write through what’s on here.  On the front and back covers: Germany word to trace, the Jan Brett gingerbread houses (the big huge one is Batman’s who decided Santa was visiting).


On the inside is the recipe, their puppets, a book on Saint Nicholas, and lift the flap book for St. Thomas Day (that’s the donkey).  And all three kids had to draw what they wanted from Saint Nicholas.  Which, as I recall was Iron Man toys, Blue Arrow costume, and something which I can’t remember or decipher from her picture.  Oh, and I was quite proud of Batman for writing Saint Nicholas all on his own, of course I then had to find a creative way to glue it into the book…..


Now, head on over to Jolanthe’s website at Homeschool Creations and see the AWESOME gingerbread unit she’s put up and what everyone else is up to this week.

start: Gingerbread Man Widgets


So, we read what I think was this version of the book.  I’m not sure I got it in a Scholastic book order.    But, the kids were already familiar with the tale and were quickly chanting along “You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.”  Of course this is the original version so he does get eaten by the fox in the end.



Well, after reading it what was there left to do, but act it out using our popsicle sticks puppets from the printable I created at left (click on picture to get to download).


We got to work cutting and pasting and then happily put on a show.  And I say we because I was drafted to be part of it so we could show it to Daddy.


Only problem is Batman decided to add something, can you see the addition?


That’s right in our version at the end the Gingerbread Man is blown up by the Transformer…….  It was unusual.






You know you don’t really get your post published if you don’t hit publish.


Now, head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures for more great art and book related activities.

stART: Florida Everglades Widgets

So……  I could have sworn I wrote this post when I wrote my posts for the week, but apparently I didn’t.  Here goes.


As part of our study of Florida we read about the Everglades and then we made our own version of the Everglades.  I’d actually say if you can find a different book to read that, because this one was okay, but not great.

Supplies needed: construction paper: 2 blue, green, yellow, glue (I also took a small amount and tinted it blue), dried grass, scissors, printout (below), crayons


Everglades Animals



1.  Cut out large numbers of animal pictures.  So many that you will be able to cover the paper more times than you could imagine.  While the kids are doing that you can trim the first page of blue paper to make it look wavy, and to be about a third of it’s size.  The yellow paper to be about half, and the green to be about 2/3, and finally the other blue is left normal.





2.  On each layer glue the appropriate animals.  It’s water, marsh, grassland, sky, in case you were wondering.  For the marshland we used the blue tinted glue and put the dried grass on the yellow paper.





3.  Insist on putting all of the animals on.  There are so many on it that we had to put them on the front and back.


Sadly, there’s also some in the wrong areas.  But, it was done gleefully saying “Look, I put the manatee in the sky, isn’t that silly?”



Well, here’s the finished pictures.  AAAAAHHHHHH viscous puppy attack as I get the pictures.


Oh no I’m being licked to death.  And those sharp little puppy teeth are trying to chew on my nose.


Whew, got him calmed down and sitting on my lap now.  He’s figured out how to get past our puppy gate for upstairs.  And then he figured out how to get past my improvisation to stop him from doing that.  Why are all young things in my family horribly good at getting into mischief?  My boys defeated the child-proofing on their door in less time than it took me to put it on when they were babies.



So, that’s the many layers of the Everglades.  I could have made it much more complicated, but this was quite complicated enough for me.

A whole slew of Bible printables

Well, I’ll walk down this as I go through each of the different ones we’re using or going to be using in the next month (in theory).
First the boy’s verse: 1 Corinthians 12 4
I love this for talking about different abilities, don’t you?

Now Princess, again lots of ways to use this one:
Philippians 4 19

Now we get into the Bible stories.  I’ve mostly finished the early ministry of Jesus, I’m finishing up the calling of the 12 disciples and now I’m working my way through the Christmas story, yes that is backwards.  And yes I know there are 20 million different versions of the Christmas story, but still.

Jesus heals the man at Bethseda pool black and white
Jesus Heal the at the Pool
When I was sitting down and writing this story I was kind of wondering about the part where Jesus essentially says, “Don’t do anything bad or something bad might happen to you.”  It’s a bit of a weird occurrence.  Not quite sure what to make of it.

Miracles on the Sabbath black and white
Miracles on the Sabbath

I think it’s interesting that the Pharisees who aren’t known for getting along with the Romans decide to plot with the Herodians.

And, another thing I noticed is they didn’t get what Jesus was trying to teach them.  The rules are put there to benefit us, not to hinder us.  When I was discussing this story with Jeff he pointed out no one would have a problem with someone healing someone because of an injury (like wouldn’t you set a broken leg?), so why is this suddenly wrong?

Jesus heals a paralytic black and white
Jesus Heals a Paralytic 34

I’ve always liked this story.  I think the friends are a great example of friendship and how to truly be a friend.

Jesus heals black and white
Jesus Heals
I have always loved the idea of Jesus the great Healer.  I don’t know why.

Okay, I’ve finally gotten this written.  It’s been slowly put together in 2 minute segments all day long as I work on different things.  Phew, done.

Our memory verses for this month

Each month our church has a theme and Bible verse for our kids to memorize.

I got inspired by Jolanthe’s Awana verses over at Homeschool Creations, so I created my own for my kid’s verses.

This month the theme for preschoolers is: God loves me, and there’s nothing cuter than your 3 year old telling you about this.  Trust me.


This month in elementary school, how scary is it my boys are in kindergarten?  Back to what I was saying, the kids are learning about initiative.  This curriculum takes a month to learn about different character attributes of God.  So, God showed initiative when He created the world and when He sent Jesus to earth…….. 


My plans for these:

First page is going to be  on the refrigerator and probably up in the loft to see.

Second page will be printed off and cut apart.  I’m going to make a book for each kid of all the verses they’ve learned.  This means I need to go back and make last month’s verses also…….

Third page will be cut apart, and they have to glue it down in order in their reading books.

I’m going to link this up with Works for Me Wednesday and over to Fantastic Five (I guess I did have a post this week after all).