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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

This year was very good for me as a blogger.  I joined a bunch of blogging support groups, and learned lots about the business.  I hosted my first ever giveaway and have been researching self-hosting.  I've also been working with Safari Ltd on their "How I Safari" campaign.  Here are the highlights of the past year organized by readership.

Click on the Picture to Visit the Post

Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

I'm slightly surprised that my blog post "Gifts for Campers and Glampers" got so much attention this year.  It was part of my "All Wrapped Up" gift guide series, where I challenged myself to post every day in November.  It was a fun way to begin the Christmas season and one that I plan on continuing next year.



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond


The 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation happened on Oct. 31 of this year.  I wrote this blog post to help families find activities they could do with their families.  Although the memorable anniversary has passed, the post will be useful every year for Reformation Day.



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

I hosted my first product giveaway this year, awarding the winner a Safari Ltd Space toob!  The giveaway was part of a larger post with several toys that spark curiosity in children.  My science kids would love to own the whole collection.



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

I love accessing user-made content on Youtube for our homeschooling.  Our whole family enjoyed watching these videos together and discussing the story they told.  I'm sure we'll return to them every October to review (we especially loved the Playmobile one).



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

I have over 200 FREE printables on this website!  It's not surprising that the blog post where I list all my printables is one of my most popular.  If you haven't looked at them yourself lately, you're missing out on some good stuff.



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

The solar eclipse was a much talked about event this year.  I put together a list of 10 Youtube videos, which were pretty popular with homeschoolers for about 24 hours.  Although I don't anticipate this post ever gaining attention again, I wanted to keep it on this list as a memento of the event.



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

We love using Safari Toobs for homeschooling.  I put together this round up post of my favorite ideas.  I hope that people will continue to find them inspiring for many years.  Also, be sure to check out all my Safari toob printables- free for all!



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

The Kindle Fire is a wonderful invention and the "Freetime Mode" is very helpful for children.  The downside is that you can't play audiobooks while in Freetime Mode.  This blog post contains the "hack" that I discovered for bypassing the system and giving your kids access to audiobooks again.



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

I make a lot of printables, and we're homeschoolers, which means I have a lot of paper for themed units.  This blog post explains how we store our printed materials and has a few ideas from around the web about organizing Montessori-inspired 3-part cards.



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

Another camping post!  It's clear that I need to cover this topic more in my blog.  This is a list of DIY ideas and products for making your camping experience a bit more fabulous.



Most Popular Posts of 2017 from In Our Pond

Homeschoolers can turn anything into a field trip.  Here's a list of 110 places to go!



Here's to a Happy New Year!  Hazzah!

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Friday, December 29, 2017

JOY the Elf 2017 (elf on the shelf)


Joy the Elf's Adventures 2017 #elfontheshelf




Joy the Elf's Adventures 2017 #elfontheshelf

Week 1- Nutcracker

Dec 4- Arrival from "Russia"
Our elf returned with her passport and suitcase.  She had been in Russia learning the Nutcracker ballet and wanted to introduce it to us!  The kids loved her costume.


Dec 5- Dancing Snowflakes
When we woke up this morning, we found beautiful, intricate snowflake ballerinas.  The kids tried paper snowflakes for themselves but found them a bit difficult for their skill level.


Dec 6- Nutcracker Music
Joy spent time in the Christmas Tree.  Easy.  We watched sections of the Nutcracker on Youtube and were surprised to hear many musical pieces that we recognized.


Dec 7- Nutcracker and Nuts
I thought I had a Nutcracker doll in the house, but I think I gave it away (minimizing/organizing kick).  I was wanting to show the kids the difference between the two types of nutcrackers.  Joy brought us a modern nutcracker and a bowl of nuts.  The kids had never cracked nuts before and really enjoyed the activity.  Next time, I need to give them less nuts.


Dec 8- Family Movie Night Frosty
For our first Christmas movie of the season, we watched the old Frosty movie.  Joy dressed as a snowman to kick off our special event.  The kids enjoyed their snowballs (donut holes), snowflakes (popcorn), snowman noses (carrots), and melted snowmen (water) snacks.


Dec. 9- Sickness
Joy had a head cold and spent the day in bed.  Another easy one (mommy win).


Dec. 10- Snowgies
When Elsa is sick, she produces Snowgies.  I thought it would be fun for Joy to create some as well.  The kids ate all the Snowgie as soon as they left their rooms that morning.  Oops!


Resources and Ideas
- preschool printable pack
illustrating the Nutcracker printable book
snowflake ballerinas (and the kids' version)
Nutcracker Montessori preschool ideas 
Montessori printable pack
- Nutcracker books for kids


Click on the Numbers for More Elf Fun!





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Friday, December 15, 2017

Movie-Themed Foster-to-Adoption Parties

Foster-to-Adoption Party Ideas from In Our Pond #adoption #party #finalization #movies


We adopted 3 kids from foster care and know first-hand how difficult it can be to find party ideas for adoptions.  It's even more difficult to find ideas when you're not adopting a baby or an international child.  I started this list as a way to brainstorm fun ideas as we were planning for our own finalization dates.

I realize that not every party theme will be applicable for every family, and I have included themes that are not ones that I would have for myself.  My hope is that this list will stimulate discussion between yourself and your kids and aid in your party planning.


Martian Child (aliens/space)


Free Willy (whales/ocean)


Angels in the Outfield (baseball)


Anne of Green Gables (tea party/garden)




Despicable Me (minions!)


Meet the Robinsons (robots/science)


The Blind Side (football)


Cinderella/Tangled (princess)


Kung Fu Panda (China/pandas)



Lilo and Stitch (Hawaii/luau)


The Book Thief (bookworm)



Finding Nemo/Dory (reef)


When we adopted Skimmer, we had a large adoption party for him at our church.
You can read all about it and access lots of FREE printables by clicking on the picture below.


Foster-to-Adoption Party Ideas from In Our Pond #adoption #party #finalization #movies
FREE Finding Nemo ADOPTION Party Printables


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Foster-to-Adoption Party Ideas from In Our Pond #adoption #party #finalization #movies







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