Quick reading or spelling tip


As I’ve mentioned several times before we’re using All About Reading level 1.  One of the big components of the program is spelling out the words and then reading them.  They recommend using spelling tiles, and I posted an earlier tip how we use ours with velcro and that was working for us.

That’s still working for us.  But, my new tip is to sometimes take a break from that and write it using dry erase markers.  If you don’t have a dry erase board you can use a mirror or window and it will wipe off just as well.

Right now this is the most commonly requested method to review our reading.

All About Reading tip

Favorite Resource This Week002
I took some of those fun games they have in the All About Reading workbook and made them into an envelope game.  For the feed the monster, I glued him on, and cut a slit in the envelope so we can feed him.

Afterwards the pieces just store right in the envelope we fed them into.

I did the same thing for the monkey game, and plan to do the same for all upcoming games.  Now it’s easy to play it over and over again. Update: 1. Sorry for the bad photo, I took a quick picture with my phone in a rather dark room. 2. Since first creating this “game” we have done the monster game almost every day, I’m taking it super slow with Princess and taking about a week a lesson for now.

Do you ever play with your camera settings?

We finally made it to the children’s museum and the dinosaur exhibit which I thought would enthrall my kids, they spent a cursory few minutes at, and then they split according to gender.


So, I spent a good 30 minutes being fed plastic food.  Which led me to play with the settings on my camera.


This is the accentuate one color.  I played around with different colors, but pink was most startling.


Fish eye and miniaturization.  Neither of which I thought were all that fun.  Maybe I should play with them more, or it might be a situational thing.


You know looking at most of the rest, I don’t particularly see how they were different, but it’s a fun thing to fiddle and play with.


Do you ever play with the settings on your camera?  Any tips or tricks?  I’m not that great of a photographer.  I can see what makes a great shot, but I don’t always follow through.

Quick tip: Calendar time

Use double sided calendar cards (or just use single-sided ones, but double sided have more interest), and when it actually reaches that day turn it around.
Okay for whatever reason this has really helped my kids with keeping what day it is straight and they really like turning the card around.

I’ve tried adding in the days as we reach it and since we’re not good about doing calendar every day (how was I so good at it when teaching and not now?) it rather confuses them.  This is BRILLIANT!  If I do say so myself.

Playful space: Costume Closet

I tried to find an amusing image to show you a before shot because I didn’t get one, but just imagine a closet overflowing with stuff.  I now have two large tubs of boxes and a big bag of gift bags to giveaway.
Oh, and I finally unpacked the final box from moving in 7 years ago.


Yes, you read that right.  Then the kids and I went through our two trunks full of costumes.  I get mine in the after Halloween sales, so it’s a very odd assortment, but they get used A LOT.

This of course meant they had to try them all on.  Several times.


After all of the sorting I was able to convince them to get rid of 2 costumes out of that lot, and I secretly snuck out a few broken pieces I was sure they’d try and keep.

Ugh, that pictures is slightly out of focus so it’s driving my eyes nuts, but it cracks me up so much I had to include it.

Then we had to dress up Mac.  Poor dog.

Finally the space under the stairs is transformed into a much more functional space.  And I don’t get frustrated when the kids get out the costumes anymore because the costumes are now hanging on hooks rather than having to dig out the entire trunk to find THAT ONE COSTUME……..

homemade tools: spelling board

We use All About Spelling and it has 100 or so spelling tiles.  They encourage you to get a magnetic board that is about 2 foot by 3 foot for this.  The problem is I have problems knocking the magnets off and losing them.  Enter my solution:
Supplies: laminated file folder (for durability), All About Spelling letter tiles , velcro (bought at Feiner supply [thanks to Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations for giving me the heads up of where to buy]), scissors
This is fairly self explanatory, but I figure I’d give you the tips I learned in making three of these.

1.  Measure out the space between velcro strips and figure out the right distance.  I figured out it was roughly an inch space.

2.  I figured out it worked best for me not to have all of the multiple letters out at this time.  There might come a day someday when the kids need them, but right now there are no double letters out, and only the 3 digraphs we’ve started on.

3.  I used rubber cement to put on the labels for the different phonemic segments consonant blends, vowel teams, etc).  I had originally used packing tape, but that makes it harder to pull up if I need to rearrange, which I’ve already had to do once.

4.  Figure out roughly how much space you need for each section before gluing down any labels (see above comment on the packing tape).  I figured out the primary alphabet needs 3 rows with some extra space left over.  The vowel teams needs about 2 rows, and the consonant blends needs a row (maybe 2, wasn’t real sure yet), and the other two categories can pretty much split a row).

5.  I’ve got the extra letters and such in ziploc bags right now and squirrelled away, hopefully somewhere I can find them again.

I got this idea from something I saw on pinterest, but I just spent 20 minutes scouring my boards and can’t find the original post.  If you pinned this idea or have seen it, could you let me know the source so I can credit it.  Also, they had a printable to some plain alphabet tiles if you don’t want to buy the AAS ones.

Fun quick tip for deocrating

I used dishwasher detergent to clean my sink.  It’s great because the bleach in the detergent helps get rid of the stains in my sink and scrubs it all out, but ever since we switched to using the tabs of soap for the dishwasher I didn’t have it as much (we switched to the tabs because the kids could put those in and not overfill the soap dispenser).

So, I bought a box of it and filled an empty spice container with the soap ready to be poured onto dirty sinks.

But it looks ugly.
Solution:  Prettify it.  Yes, that is a word.
Supplies: spice bottle, mod podge, paintbrush, scrapbook paper (mine is from a scrapbooking calendar)
It’s super quick and easy.  I just cut the paper down to size, and then painted mod podge all over the container.  After carefully aligning it I put it on and then put some more mod podge over the top.

Super duper easy!

Favorite Resource this week: Pinterest

Favorite Resource This Week

I LOVE this site.  It’s so addicting, it’s like One Pretty Thing, but it’s only the stuff I like!


One of the things I’ve been looking for recently has been activities/crafts for swimming creatures to go with our science text, and here’s what I have so far:

Chapter 1 oceans and currents:

Experiment from All Things Beautiful

Chapter 2 whales:

whale from Superheroes and Princesses

Chapter 3 seals:

nothing yet

Chapter 4: aquatic herps (turtles)

turtle milk bottle lid from Mama Jenn

Chapter 5: Primeval Reptiles (water dinos):

nothing yet, though there is one about Champy I might do from Superheroes and Princesses, still debating

Chapter 6: fish:

Fish sun catcher from 4 Crazy Kings

Chapter 7: Sharks and Rays:

Shark craft from Brimful Curiostities, anyone have a good manta ray craft?

Crab science experiment from Learning Ideas (you should totally check out this site)

Chapter 9: Mollusks

Hermit Crab from Handprint and Footprint Crafts


I’d go on, but you get the idea.  If you want to see all of the 50 odd ideas I have on my Swimming Creatures board feel free to head there.  If you have a craft or activity related to this be sure to leave it in the comments and I’ll head over and add it to my board.


DISCLOSURE:  None of these pictures are my own, all of them were taken from the site linked right underneath, if you want to see the entire cool project FOLLOW THE LINK!