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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ten Frame Math

10 Frame Addition
Basic 10 Frame
 These are math worksheets that I created for our homeschooling.  Very basic.  I've placed ours in page protectors and plan on having Dragonfly write on them with dry erase crayons.  The ten frames can be filled with pom poms, counters, noodles, etc.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bible Time (post 1)

Part of our future calendar time will include some time in the Bible.  I plan on introducing my kids to the books of the Bible as we read the stories, so I have cards where they can see the name of the book in print.  The signs were made with my digital scrapbooking program.
Books of the Bible (1, 2, 3, 4) 
Bible Reading Numbers
 I also want to make a count of our reading time, while practicing ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands place.  Additionally, I've made us a plastic frog to "feed" everyday with a black pom pom.  When we get to 100, we'll have a family party to celebrate reading the Bible for 100 days.
original idea here

As always, please respect my work and refrain from copying it.  Hope these ideas inspire you in your own schooling.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Working Songs

Motivating toddlers to clean up isn't easy.  As a mom, I try to have a routine with set cleaning times (ie- before bed), but there are also unscheduled times when the kids need to clean.  For those times, I've come to rely on musical cues to motivate them.  Here's what's on our cleaning playlist now:

- "Happy Working Song" from Enchanted
- "The Work Song" from Cinderella
- "Hi Ho" from Snow White
- "Spoonful of Sugar" from Mary Poppins
- "Whistle While You Work" from Snow White

I think it's very interesting to note that all of the Disney working songs come from older Disney movies (with the exception of Enchanted, which was a mockery of classical Disney).  It's from the older movies that we learn great truths like, "For every job that must be done, there is an element of fun." (Mary Poppins)  And, "It (the work) won't take long when there's song to help you set the pace." (Snow White).  Compare these "get the job done" lyrics with: "It's time...to test the limits...no right, no wrong, no rules for me." (Frozen- but that's a different post all together).

It's not just modern Disney that's no longer producing working songs.  All kids' programs are shying away from asking kids to help others or to be responsible for their own belongings.  It's not considered important in our culture.  Instead, we push academics and "smarts."  As a result, we're raising kids with no work ethic, no personal responsibility, and no concern for others.

Parents of the world- it's time to teach our kids to clean!  Put on some fun music and dance your way to personal responsibility.

Counting With Frogs Printable

Frogs 1-5
Here's a fun printable for you with frogs from My Cute Graphics.  I used my scrapbooking program to put the numbers on them.  Right now, there are only 5 frogs because I intend to use them for the "Five Speckled Frogs" song.  Another way to use them would be to place them in a row, then to have the child put black pom poms on each frog to represent how many flies he ate.

I'm find of on a frog and pond kick right now.  I have many more ideas in my head that I'd like to share in the future.  Stay tuned!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Calendar Board

Our calendar board is frog/pond themed.  It's not finished yet, so I'm sure there will be more posts about this project in the future.  For today, here are a few free printables made with my scrapbook program, Craft Artist 2.

months of the year
days of the week
calendar numbers (date and year)
Frog from scrapbooking program.  Sorry, not printable.

 Please respect my work and print these for personal use only.  Hope they benefit your schooling!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Preparing for Homeschooling


I've been preparing for months for our first year of Mommy School. As I've been obsessively browsing Pinterest, it's been really easy to get excited about the accademics.  I'm a nerd, and I can't wait to teach my kids about quadratic equations and US history.  It's got to be a sickness.

I found this chalkboard printable on the ABCs to ACTs blog and have decided that it needs to become my motto.  Instead of worrying about how much knowledge I can put into Dragonfly and Skimmer's heads, I need to focus on letting them be kids.  The time for sitting at a desk, filling out worksheets will come.  It's much more important that they play with tadpoles than that they can correctly identify the stages of a frog's life.  I'd rather the kids experience the wonder of a rainbow after a storm than that they can sort by rainbow colors.  Getting along, learning to do chores and be responsible, practicing obedience, and other character qualities are also important.

When the kids are all grown up, I hope they remember their life at home and not just their school at home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Re-purposed Sock Storage

Take one re-purposed shoe organizer.  Hang it on the back of the bathroom door with 3M bathroom hooks and ribbon.  Stuff pockets will all the things kids need that are hard to store.

- a row of toddler girl tights
- a row of socks (one pocket per child)
- a row of big girl panties
- a row of swimsuits, etc

There's a pocket open in the sock row for Baby #4 and a row for big boy unders when we start potty training Skimmer.  The system has only been hanging for a week, but I love it.

This is project #1 for my family closet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Car Organization (post #1)

We currently drive a 5-seat car, which is stuffed full of car seats.  Since we're planning on adding more car seats eventually, we recently bought a 9-seat SUV.  This is our new Suburban.

Here's my first car organization project- a garbage can.  It's made out of a Dollar Tree plastic basket that I had hanging around the house.  Under the current garbage bag is a small pile of extras for easy refills.
For my second organization project, I created a super practical, quite ugly duct tape center console (very much in line with my personality).  Here's the finished product.
I started with an extra shipping box, then added junk from around the house.  I cut a clorox wipes canister down to make the cup holders and a crystal lite container to make some additional organizers.  A few key rings and some extra duct tape became the MP3 player pocket.  Here's the empty box to show you just how ugly the organizer is.
The next picture is the console box all filled up.  The box with the lid holds lollipops for special treats (and bribes), with a little bit of ribbon to ensure that I don't lose the lid.  The notch in the cardboard is to allow the wipes to open easily.  A box of tissues sit beside the wipes, which will hopefully prevent the tissues from getting too dirty or crushed.  There's a spot for a pen and a few granola bars, a water bottle and a can of pop.  The small pocket in the front holds the MP3 player with the radio transmitter cord held up with a extra key ring.  And, there's plenty of room for some extra goodies on the left side.
Stay tuned for more organizational tips.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Listening Eggs Task Box

I've been very interested in the idea of "task boxes" for quite a while and have devoted a lot of Pinterest time to them.  This first box is semi-original idea.  The game has two pieces to it, a simple plastic egg drop into the box (fine motor) and a listening (sensory) component.  Each of the eggs is filled with noisy things from around the house: rice, noodles, jingle bells, candy sprinkles, seeds, etc.  As I was making them, I took note of what I put in each one.  My intention is to make a game where the kids can guess what is in each one by what they can hear.  They're still a bit young for that level of concentration, but they have enjoyed shaking the eggs and dropping them through the holes.

If you want to make this game for yourself, you need a plastic shoe box, a craft knife, a hot glue gun, plastic eggs, and a variety of things to put in them.  You can chose to number them or not.  Be sure to hot glue (or super glue) them very well so they don't come open.

Hope you enjoy this idea- from our pond.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

You're the Mom of 2 Toddlers When...

You Know You're the Mom of 2 Toddlers When- humor from In Our Pond

A lot of mommy bloggers have written about the quirks of toddlers and made lists like this one.  I haven't read any from mom's of more than one toddler, though.  Here is my list:

You Know You're the Mom of Two Toddlers When:

- you can open two cheese sticks in the time it takes most people to open one

- your purse has been completely taken over by the kids and is now a "mommy bag," complete with crumbs and 5 lbs of liquids (bottles, sippy cups, water bottles, etc).

- you can gracefully hit the twin stick popsicles on counter to break them into "sharing size."

- you say "those are not words" and "careful with each other" more times than you care to count

- you have couches for jumping, a climbing structure inside, a tent in the living room, a boat in the bathtub, and constant food on the floor

- someone is always naked

- you're intimately antiquated with your children's bodily functions and can identify the pooper by the smell (we have 3 in diapers the majority of the time).

- you understand the difference between "children's music," "kids' music," "pickle music," "different pickle music," "new pickle music," "church songs," "Bible songs," and "children's church songs," which are all names of specific CD's in toddler-land, not just types.

- you constantly feel like a ping pong ball, running from one need to the next.

- you have a song for every occasion.

- you have no qualms about singing those songs in public if it'll get the job done faster.

- you count a lot, but only to 3 or 5.

- you blame the clock to avoid a fight (the clock says it's bedtime).

- a bath is rarely for washing (always for playing).

- socks are a useless extra since they rarely make it out of the car.

- you spend time demonstrating "why we wear our seat belts" every time you get in the car.

- everything "not for kids" is piled up where the kids can't reach it.

- undoing child locks is second nature.

- you shop other moms' houses for their toddler-proofing ideas

- sometimes you just have to talk like a toddler ("I can't like that")

- you spend a lot of time in time out (and Wal-mart).

- you're a master at wrangling kids where they don't want to go.

- your walls are decorated with coloring, food smears, and fingerprints.

- you don't own any plain bandaids, just cartoon and colored ones.

- you frequently converse about toilets and how to use them (and not use them).

- you own way too much plastic-ware but can never find the sippy cups at nap time.

- having someone else's drool, snot, or spit up on you doesn't even bother you anymore.

- you can't bear to wipe away the hand prints from the window because they represent a moment in time.

- you know all the words to the kids' songs.

- you duct tape everything: diapers, toilet seats, light switches, drawers, etc (it's our favorite toddler-proofing method).

-  the garbage is always migrating out of the trash can.

- books finally get thrown away after being chewed and ripped, thrown in the full bath tub, and finally getting drown in the toilet.

- you let the kids play "giant stickers" with the sanitary pads because at least they're happy/busy/content/occupied for a while.

- trips to Wal-mart include special detours to the hunting section to see the "deer/elk" (taxidermy animals).

- you have wipes stashed all over the house: in the car, the diaper bag, your purse, the kitchen table....

- your toddler asks you to stop at the latte stand so she can get a lollipop.

- making "mac-a-oni" and cheese makes you feel like a hero because of how happy it makes the kids.

I'm guessing that's more than you wanted to know about our life.  I had a lot of fun writing it, though.  I dedicate it to all the mothers who can relate way too easily to some or all of this list.

You Know You're the Mom of 2 Toddlers When- humor from In Our Pond

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Worm Box

After much Pinterest searching, I believe I may have created an original idea (hard to do in the internet age).  Introducing the "Worm Box," a perfect pet for your toddler.  Worms are odorless, hardy, self-regulating, common, self-propagating, and take very little maintenance.  They're also an awesome learning opportunity for toddlers.  There are even books at the library about earthworms.

To make your own worm learning box, you need a large plastic tub (I found ours for $1 at Wal-mart), a bag of plain dirt (no fertilizer), and a take-a-way container of worms (store bought but you could dig for some if you wanted).  Dump the dirt in then bin and add the worms.  Don't worry if the worms seem lifeless at first, they're hibernating and will wake up soon.  While the worms are coming alive, take the kids around the yard to collect worm food, like leaves, dry grass, etc.  When you're done playing with the worms, cover the dirt with the bin's lid.

Another great addition for the box is some small garden tools.  I bought a small shovel and rake at the Dollar Tree.  Of course, the dirt is also good for driving small cars through and scooping with trucks.

Someday, I hope we'll be able to grow tadpoles into frogs.  Then, we'd have a real pond.  For now, the Toddlers are really enjoying the worms.  Dragonfly is pictured to the right digging in the box.

By the way- did you know that you can't get pinworms from earthworms?  They're totally different species!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pond Sensory Bin

Sensory Bins are nothing new, and they're definitely all over Pinterest right now.  I got the idea for this sensory bin from the Teaching Mama.  The "water beads" are actually tapioca pearls.  You buy them dry and then cook them like beans to get them to plump up (I added dye to the water while cooking).  My toddlers are still in the tasting stage, so these pearls were perfect for them.

We explored them on our sunny porch by adding them to a shallow plastic tub with some extra water.  I'm glad we did it outside because the kids were very messy with them.  Dragonfly's favorite thing to do with the pearls was to throw them around the yard.  I have no faith that she wouldn't have thrown them around the house if I had chosen to keep the activity inside.

We started out playing with small animals in the "pond" and feeling the pearls with our hands.  After a while, Skimmer was trying to climb in the bucket so I let them get naked and "swim" in them.  When we were done playing with them, I dumped the pearls into yard.  It made me smile this morning to see the little beads of blue in the grass.

The Toddlers are already asking to do this activity again, so I'd say it was a success.  I think next time, I'll give Tadpole (7 months) some pearls to mash on his tray since they are quite soft.  Thanks for the idea, Teaching Mama!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Surviving 3 Under 3 (mommy tricks)

We have 3 children currently in our pond.  They are 2.5, 1.5, and 0.5.  In other words, 3 under 3.  Just because I know people are curious about our lives, here's a few of my "mommy tricks."

This is my main strategy for survival.  Herding means keeping the children near me throughout the day.  If I'm in the living room, they're in the living room.  If I'm leaving the bathroom, everyone is leaving the bathroom (and the door is getting shut).  This greatly cuts down on the amount of mess and meanness that can occur from minute to minute.  I picture myself as a mother hen, guiding her children through the world.

No, we don't ration love or food or affection.  But, we do ration toys.  All of the kids' toys are in a "toy closet."  They're sorted by type (blocks, dublos, etc) and contained in plastic bins that the kids can't open.  I have pictures of the toys on a "menu" by the toy closet.  Every time the kids want to get a toy box out, they can either tell me the name or point to it on the menu.  My favorite part about the system is that the kids are responsible to pick up all of one set of toys before we get out another box.  We also have "pick up" times throughout the day, like an hour before daddy gets home with the incentive of getting to watch a movie.  The other thing I like about the system is that the toys are stored together so it's easy to put away a stray piece if something gets left out.  I highly recommend this trick.

Carry Less
Many assume that a mom of many little ones would have a huge diaper bag.  I've given up on that chore.  Instead, I try to plan ahead and stash things in strategic places so that I don't need to carry as much.  After all, I need my hands for carrying kids.  I carry 1 diaper for each child in my purse and a ziplock bag of wipes.  I bring a formula dispenser instead of a can of formula.  I pack a water bottle for making bottles (8 oz) but leave the toddlers' sippy cups in the car.  I also keep diapers and wipes in the car, refilling those bags as necessary.  There's a pack of diapers at the church nursery with our last name on it, since the kids are in there at least two times a week.  Etc.  Anytime I can chose to leave something where I'll use it or bring a smaller amount of something, I will.  I'll talk more about this when I write about car organization.

It's my plan to make a series of these "mommy tricks."  I hope you enjoy them.

Surviving 3 Kids in 3 Years- parenting advice from In Our Pond

Monday, May 5, 2014

Who Are We?

Bullfrog- the leader of the pond.  He is the husband of Hummingbird and the daddy to Dragonfly, Skimmer, and Tadpole (and good at it).  He works outside the home at a factory.

Hummingbird- the author of the blog.  I am the wife of Bullfrog and the mommy to Dragonfly, Skimmer, and Tadpole.  I work inside the home as a wife and mother.  Like the hummingbird, I tend to jump from project to project and can be a bit "flighty."  I'm hoping the blog provides me some accountability as I begin homeschooling my children.
 Dragonfly- our oldest daughter, who is currently 2 years old.

Skimmer- our oldest son, who is currently 1 year old.

Tadpole- our foster son, who is less than a year old.

We are a family that is growing by adoption. Only God knows how many will end up in our pond.