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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Free Craft Room Printable

In between parenting and packing boxes, I've been creating stuff for the new house.  Here's a poster that I made tonight.  I think it will be a fun addition to my craft space and yours as well.

To download, click here.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Knit Baby Doll Bed

Note: This post was written in November to be posted after Christmas (so as to not ruin the surprise).

Dragonfly has been doing more pretend play lately, especially "mommy" pretend play.  It think she might finally be ready for some baby doll accessories.

The baby is the Melissa and Doug "Gabrielle" doll (here).  The hat came with the doll but the sleep sack was sewn by me.  I bought a newborn onesie from Goodwill, cut the snaps off the bottom, and added an elastic casing.  It's just long enough for this 12" doll.

To Knit a Moses Bed:
Unfortunately, this is going to be more of a "suggestion" than a pattern.  Start with some yarn and some needles.  I used a pair of straight and a pair of cabled circulars.  They could be the same needle size but they don't really need to be- I used a pair of size 8 straights and a pair of size 10 circulars.  Using a provincial cast-on, pick up the number of stitches you need to get the length of bed you want.  I did multiples of 10 because I wanted to do a specific pattern for the sides of the bed.  I chose 50 stitches.

Base of Bed:
Rows 1-4: Knit across
Row 5: K1, knit front and back into the same stitch, knit until last 3 stitches, knit front and back into the same stitch, K1 (increase row)
Row 6: Knit across
Rows 7-13 odd rows: repeat increase row
Row 8-14 even rows: Knit across

You should now have 10 more stitches then when you started (for example from 50 to 60).  You can do more increase rows if you wish.  Then, knit every row until the base is as wide as you'd like.  I think mine is about 5 inches.  Begin decrease pattern.

Odd Rows: K1, K2tog, knit across, SSK, K1
Even Rows: Knit across

When your numbers are back down to the original, knit across for 3 rows.  On the 4th row, knit stitches onto the circular needles.  At the end of the row, begin using your extra needle to pick up stitches along the edge and knit them onto the circular needle.  With my bed, I aimed for 30 stitches per side.  After the sides, start on the provincial cast on end, undoing those stitches and knitting them.  At the end of that row, pick up the stitches on the last side, which should bring you to the beginning of the circle.  My bed had 160 stitches as I began the bed's walls (50+30+50+30).  It's time to start the basket weave pattern.

Basket Weave Pattern
Row 1: (K10, *K1, P1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Row 2: (K10, *P1, K1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Continue pattern for 10 rows.

Row 11: Knit all stitches
Row 12: (K10, *P1, K1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Row 13: (K10, *K1, P1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Continue pattern for 10 rows.

Row 22: Knit all stitches
Row 23: (K10, *K1, P1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Row 24: (K10, *P1, K1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Continue pattern for 10 rows.

You've finished with side one of the bed.  Either bind off all stitches or place active stitches on a spare cable or length of yarn.  Cut yarn.

At the base of the bed, pick up 160 (or whatever number of stitches you used before) and place on cable needle.  Begin working basket weave pattern for the second side.  Your "wrong sides" need to be facing each other.

Knit side two to match side one.

Accessories Pocket
If you desire to add an accessories pocket to the inside of the basket, pick up any number of stitches on the edge (I chose 30) and knit them in the basket weave pattern for however long you desire.  At the end of each row, pick up a stitch from the wall of the basket and knit it into the pocket stitches.  Cast off with an i-cord or normally.  Weave in your ends.

Using the 3 needle bind-off, either bind off all stitches.  When the majority of the bed is cast-off, insert plastic canvas between the walls to stiffen them.  Continue binding-off and weave in all yarn tails.  Declare the project finished or add handles by picking up stitches (I used a much smaller needle than I used for the main part of the bed) and knitting good length before casting-off.  Sew the loose end to the bed (I chose to catch the canvas in hopes of making the handle more durable).  Make two handles, find a cute dolly for the bed, and gift it.


Using 3 needles, knit the front and back together.  When you get the majority of the way around the bed, insert plastic canvas between the walls.  Continue to knit the sides together.  To make the folded-over blanket/decoration, knit every stitch until the blanket measures the length you chose.  Use a picot cast off to make the decorative edge.

Picot Cast Off
1- into first stitch, cast on 3.
2- bind off 4 stitches.
3- slip stitch back to left hand needle.
Repeat steps 1-3 until only one stitch is left.  Cut yarn and weave in ends.

Add garter stitch handles using the method outlined above.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Printable Travel Journal

I love Travel Time Tuesday so much that I've decided to give it it's own blog!  It'll take me awhile to transfer everything, but all my future travel posts will now be on the new site- Party Through the USA.  This blog will now be only for homeschooling and parenting stuff, and all the road trip ideas, free travel printables, and DIY toys will be on the new blog.

Click on the Picture to Visit the Post

Saturday, December 26, 2015

k is for king (year 2, week 16)

Merry Christmas!  I thought we'd spend this week focusing on the Wise Men (who visited Jesus) and add in a bit of fairy tale fun.  With that in mind, here's what I had planned on for the week.

- King Me file folder game
- ruler of the ruler math activity
- key match math
- medieval printables

- orange pomanders
- gift wrapping practice
- clipping clothespins on a gift box
- styrofoam ball ornaments
- make-your-own-perfume activity
- smelling bottles
- grating cinnamon
- patterns with jewels
- sorting jewels
- covering the letter with jewels
- gold sensory bin
- Christmas smells sensory experience

Even though Mommy did very little school with them this week, the kids did their own activities.  One of their favorites was "gift giving."  They would find a random box, stuff some toys into it, and gift it to a family member.  It was a great chance to practice grace and curtsy in the giving and receiving of gifts.  Sometimes, the child would give the gift to him/herself and pretend to be surprised when they opened the gift.  "Oh, thank you!" they would exclaim again and again.  So sweet!

Follow In Our Pond's board "k is for king" on Pinterest.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How Does the Four Gifts Rule Work?

Our family does "the four gift rule" for Christmas presents- "something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read."  I really enjoy this way of organizing presents, because I feel it makes the gift giving simple and easy to track.  Mainly for our benefit, but perhaps for someone else's enjoyment, here was our list for the year.

*Prices to show items bought on sale*

Want- Star Wars bathroom supplies
Need- 500 count sheets (reg $75, sale $23)
Wear- Sriracha t-shirt and beanie
Read/Watch- DVD
- toothbrush
- spicy snacks
- candy
- coffee bar

Want- Melissa and Doug doll and DIY moses bed with blanket
Need- DIY circle skirt, DIY hat, and sippy cup
Wear- foot pjs
Read/Watch- Polar Express Blu-Ray (reg $27.98, sale $7.99)
- doll bottle
- pink dress-up mask (DIY)
- Frozen characters
- toothbrush
- princess fan w/candy
- candy

Want- stuffed Olaf (reg $17.99, sale $8.95) and DIY Olaf blanket
Need- DIY fleece hat, sippy cup, and massager (for sensory needs)
Wear- footie pjs
Read/Watch: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs DVD
- planes fan w/candy
- toothbrush
- blue dress-up mask (DIY)
- candy

Want- Green Toys helicopter
Need- fleece hat and sippy cup
Wear- foot pjs
Read/Watch: John Deere Action
- star wars fan w/candy
- toothbrush
- candy
- blue dress-up mask (DIY)

Need- coffee mug
Wear- Croc slippers (reg $44.99 , sale $22.49

Monday, December 21, 2015

Free Star Wars Printable

In honor of the new Star Wars movie and my house move, I've made the free printable.  It prints as a 8x10.  I prefer to print it on cardstock at a copy and print center such as Staples.  I plan on using this printable in my new master bathroom (yes, I'm that nerdy).

To download, click here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Free Laundry Sign

Preparations for our new house continue.  I've been cleaning, organizing (more on that later), purging, and crafting.  I designed this free printable sign to go in our new laundry room.  I love this quote because it reminds me that thankfulness is a choice.  The second half of the quote, which I chose not to include for spacing reasons, says that someday the laundry baskets will be empty because the family will be grown.  It's a reminder to enjoy the days I have now- they won't last forever.  To download it, click here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

c is for cookie (year 2, week 14)

We're still busy with the move (of course).  Even still, we've done a few things this week.  Our theme was "c is for cookies."

Tadpole enjoyed stacking the pink tower this week.  He learned that he could stack them better if he started with the bigger blocks and then added the smaller ones.  He hasn't placed them biggest to smallest yet.

He really enjoyed putting them back in the storage bag when he was finished.  The blocks are packed now for our next house.

I found these 18" felt gingerbread men at the dollar store.  They came with cut out pieces of felt to decorate them with.  We ended up having to hot glue the pieces on.  The kids have enjoyed playing with them.

I loved how each of the kids wanted to decorate their gingerbread men in their own way.  They were so proud of their work.

Dragonfly has been tying knots in everything lately.  This is the medical tubing for my nebulizer.  At least it's easy to pick out.  Perhaps she'll get some rope for Christmas.

The kids are always eager to help me clean the house.  The other kids have made Tadpole (2) brave and he now loves to vacuum as well.  He loves to help them push it around.

- Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

- cocoa/cookie shop spelling/math game
- cookie counting game
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Spelling Game
- cookie bump game
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie preschool pack

- decorating large foam cookies
- runaway cookie pattern
- How Flour is Made video
- hot cocoa sensory bin
- cookie shop pretend play
- life size gingerbread house
- bake C shaped cookies

Follow In Our Pond's board "c is for cookies" on Pinterest.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Family Brain Binder (free printable)

I'm starting to organize the items on my to-do list.  I've made the "Family Brain Binder" top priority, mostly because it's easy.  I started with a $1 "Better" binder from Staples and a few packs of half-size page protectors from Walmart.  I designed my binder cover, which you can download here.  I also printed a few handy things from other blogs, like a calendar (here) and a birthday tracker (here).  Both blogs have lots of planner printables to satisfy even the most OCD person.

I don't usually cook with recipes, but I have a few baking ones that I like to have on hand.  I was able to print them from a cooking website by setting the margins so the text was as wide as a half-page.  It's not beautiful, but it's good enough for the couple times a year that I need those recipes.  I still need to type up a few other recipes, but those can be done later.

I also need to update our family emergency information and phone number lists.  I'll probably start on them soon, but they won't be ready for the binder until after we move.  A new town means new doctors, pharmacy, dentist, emergency contacts, etc.

To me, the best part about the family binder is that it is expandable.  If I decide to add more information later, I can do it!  If I want to make a separate recipe binder, I can just slide the recipes I've already made into the new one.  Even though the binder will never be "done," I'm calling it finished and checking it off the list.

Organizational To-Do List:
1- DVDs
2- Devices
3- Launch Pad
4- Craft Supplies
5- Coffee Station
6- Mason Jars
7- Toys
8- Kids Clothes
9- Command Center
10- Coats and Shoes

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ten Things I Need to Organize

As we're preparing to move houses, I have quite a few organizational projects on my list.  Look for posts in the near future detailing how I've solved my issues.

Issue #1- The DVDs.  Right now, they're in a bunch of zippered cases.  The problem is that no single disk has a specific home so *you* must search through every case to find the movie you want.  Our most frequently used movies are in a pile on top of the DVD player.  It's always a mess.

Issue #2- The Devices.  I recently labeled the cords to match the devices.  For now, the devices sit in a wood box on top of the microwave.  When we move, the same set-up will probably not work any longer.  My hope is to find an enclosed system that will protect our devices from gross things (if we locate it in the kitchen) and keep them out of sight.

Issue #3- The Launch Pad.  At this house, our launch pad is a basket by our main door that hangs on a little shelf.  The shelf has cup hooks for our keys, and the basket holds the wallets, cell phone, etc.  I'm sure we won't be able to have the same system in the new house.  I'm sure this will be on the top of our list after we move.

Issue #4- The Craft Supplies.  Right now, my craft supplies are in three different places.  My sewing machine and fabric are in our "Apple Room," because I sew at the table.  The majority of my craft supplies are in our bedroom closet, but I also have a stash in a kitchen cupboard since I usually craft at the kitchen counters.  At the new house, I'd love to have everything together, possibly in the adult bedroom where I can (theoretically) protect it from the kids.

Issue #5- The Coffee Station.  We have a regular coffeemaker that we pull in and out of a cupboard every time we want a cup of joe.  It's inconvenient.  My dream for the next house is to have a "coffee station" where all the coffee supplies can be kept in a pleasing and organized manner.  I'm also feeling drawn back to the "coffee shop" decor.

Issue #6- Mason Jars.  I like to buy my spices in bulk, and I store them in mason jars.  At the current house, they're in a jumble on the counters, organized but not pretty.  I'd love to have a couple build-in shelves for the jars or possibly even mount them under the cupboards.

Issue #7- Toys.  Is there any family that doesn't have toy organization on their list?  Right now, we have a good system for the kids' toys.  We converted the entryway closet into a "toy closet" and have all the toys stored in bins.  When the kids want a set of toys out of the closet (for example, the dublos), then they must pick up the living room to make room to play with the new toys.  If they want another box, then they must pick up the one that's already out.  This child-led but parent-directed method has worked very well for us.  Our house is still very messy, but the toy control helps it not be a dumping zone all the time.  We're going to need something similar at the new house.

Issue #8- The Kids' Clothes.  To reign in the chaos a little, the kids' clothes are not stored in their room.  Instead, we keep the clothes in other closets with child locks.  At the new house, the hallway near the bathroom has built in storage.  I think we'll probably use that but I'm not sure.

Issue #9- The Command Center.  Another thing I need to figure out is where the landline phone jack is in the new house to see where our command center needs to be located.  The move has also prompted me to rework our "family brain book," updating all the phone numbers, emergency numbers, and calendars.

Issue #10- Coats and Shoes.  In any family, the question of where to put the coats and shoes is a big deal.  Our old house has the "Apple Room," a combination eating area, office, craft space, and mud room.  The new house doesn't have an obvious mud room, so I'm going to have to make one.

As you can see, I have lots to do.  So, what's on your organizational wish list?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

b is for babies (year 2, week 13)

For our first week of Christmastime learning, we're focusing on babies, human and animal, with a touch of mammals vs non-mammals.  We also started our "Countdown to Christmas" with a story a night from the Jesus Storybook Bible.

We've been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible.  The cards are free.

So, um, this week didn't go at all like planned.  I've been packing and organizing and purging for our upcoming move.  We've been working with our realtor to put an offer on a house.  Since I've done all the planning, here's what I've found (and the books we read this week).

- 15 Things Not to do with a Baby
- Father and Son: a Nativity Story
- Little One, We Knew You'd Come
- The Life Cycle of a Human
- Song of the Stars

- path to Bethlehem game
- mammals vs non-mammals sorting game
- miniature matching cards for mammals
- fetal development 3-part cards
- mommy's and babies around the world
- animal families matching
- Nativity learning pack

- baby care with a baby doll
- baby doll washing sensory bin

Follow In Our Pond's board "b is for babies" on Pinterest.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Christmas Cookie Printable

I wish I had something amazing to write about this printable.  It's pretty straightforward.  Print the two pages and attach a paper clip to the pie graph to use as a spinner.  Have the child spin the paper clip and graph how many times the spinner selects a certain cookie.  Count up the results.

To download, click here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

One Quick Organizational Project

I have run into this idea on Pinterest several times.  Every time I saw it, I thought that it was a good idea, but I never did anything about it.  With the move coming up soon, I've finally done it.

It was so simple to organize my cords with washi tape.  I taped charge cords, electronics, and wall chargers with matching tape.  It look me probably 20 minutes to round up the majority of our devices and cords and tape them.  I really wish I had done it earlier.  The cheerful tape patterns make me smile every time I look at them and the tape means that finding a charge cord is now a 15 second problem instead of a constant headache.

The power strip I am featuring in my post is one of my favorite things in our house.  It has both regular electric plugs and USB plugs.  Someday, I'd like to add the USB wall outlets, but this power strip is working very well in our rental house.  You can find it for purchase on Amazon.

I hope to do a few more organizational posts in the next few months.  Keep checking back.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

H is for Harvest (year 2, week 12)

It's Thanksgiving Week!  I had a bunch of activities planned, but our week didn't go as planned at all!

Day 1
We're sick again and Daddy came home sick today so we didn't get any Mommy School done.  Instead, I spent a few hours packing and sorting things from our upcoming move.

Day 2
Today was our first snowfall of the year.  The kids spent most of the day running around outside and taking warm baths.

Day 3
We had a very busy day looking at houses with all three kid and our realtor.  After we got home, we finally did a bit of Mommy School.  We played with Indian Corn that I had bought at the Farmer's Market this fall.

Tadpole loved feeling the corn kernels and pulling on the stray silks.  I tried to show him how to pluck the kernels out but he got mad that he couldn't eat them.

Dragonfly eagerly took the corn away from her brother.  She attempted to pick the kernels out with tweezers, but she decided it was too hard.  I think I had the wrong size tweezers for the kernels.

I also made the kids some corn meal play dough.  All three kids loved the texture and spent a long time squishing and kneading it.

After we were done with our table time, we put the ear of corn in a bowl of water to see if we could get it to sprout.  My goal is to show my kids that corn is a seed, since we've sprouted a few other seeds this year.

Update (Dec. 10, 2015)- The kids were so surprised to see that the "dead," dried out Indian corn spouted.  They excitedly announced, "They're seeds!"

- Thanksgiving spelling game
- scarecrow printables
- parts of a turkey
- CVC word family game
- letter matching game
- Thanksgiving roll and cover
- Thanksgiving matching game

- corn vs popcorn experiment
- popcorn popping video
- thankfulness pie
- cornmeal play dough
- thanksgiving writing tray
- carving arrowheads
- how cranberries are grown video
- indian corn necklace
- grinding corn
- rolling napkins
- Pilgrim/Mayflower video
- Thanksgiving dinner manners practice
- exploring grains
- how it's made: cranberries

- The Berenstains Bears Thanksgiving Blessings
- Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation
- All About Turkeys
- Thanksgiving Day Alphabet
- Thanksgiving Day Thanks
- Llama Gives Thanks
- The Night Before Thanksgiving
- Bear Says Thanks
- God Gave Us Thankful Hearts
- P is for Pilgrim

Also Recommended for Your Thanksgiving Studies:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

o is for ocean (year 2, week 11)

Day 1
We learned a bit about clown fish today.

Day 2
We had a surprise power outage from a storm so all our day got derailed to survival.  Part of my preparations includes a bunch of glow sticks tucked in next to our emergency phone and flashlights.  These glow balls came from the Dollar Tree and are probably one of the favorite things we've bought from there.

Day 3
Bible study day!

Day 4
We learned about sea turtles and their life cycle today.  The kids enjoyed our life cycle figurines from Safari and spent lots of time playing with them.

Day 5
Dragonfly loves sharks!  She even has a great white shark on her Christmas list,  She was so excited to see that I had bought the Safari Toob to add to our homeschool supplies.  I think she played with her sensory bin for an hour.

- Finding Nemo Matching Real to Cartoon Animals
- parts of a shark ($)
- Don't Wake the Shark Matching Game
- shark coloring page
- shark toob matching cards
- fish labeling
- 50 sharks cards
- ocean toob cards
- life cycle of a sea turtle cards
- ocean addition cards
- ocean math
- sorting fish from mammals cards
- ocean bump game
- reef grammar "farm" cards
- coral reef toob cards
- ocean preschool pack
- count and clip cards
- coral reef printables

- Baby Shark Song
- ocean writing tray
- shark unit
- layers of the ocean jar
- sea turtle sensory bin
- salt vs fresh water experiment
- octopus ink experiment
- bubble counting
- diver pretend play set
- shark sensory bin
- coral reef sensory bin
- land forms
- tide pool experiment

- A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea
- Surprising Sharks
- Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef
- The Coral Reef: a Giant City Under the Sea
- Smiley Shark
- Five Little Sharks Swimming in the Sea
- At This Very Moment

Follow In Our Pond's board "o is for ocean" on Pinterest.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

e is for eggs (year 2, week 10)

This week was supposed to be "e is for eggs" with an emphasis on frog and butterfly metamorphosis.  We had just done insects a few weeks ago and frogs over the summer, so the kids were completely uninterested in this theme.  I'm learning that Dragonfly (especially) has a hunger for learning, but has no tolerance for repetition.  Perhaps this will change, but for now, it's making things challenging and interesting.

So that my research doesn't go to waste, here's what we were planning on using/doing/printing.

- metamorphosis games (frog and butterfly)
- counting frogs
- what hatches from an egg
- tadpole to frog science notebook pages
- butterfly lapbook
- parts of a frog 3-part cards
- frog toob printables
- fly counting cards
- life cycle of a frog 3-part cards
- hungry caterpillar preschool pack

- croaking frog
- frog life cycle video
- feed the frog with tweezers
- butterfly sensory bin
- no sew caterpillar that turns into a butterfly

- Watch Me Grow: Butterfly
- From Tadpole to Frog
- The Frogs and Toads All Sang
- A Frog in a Bog
- The Life Cycle of a Butterfly
- The Life Cycle of a Frog

Dragonfly got to go to Frozen on Ice last weekend, so we've been doing a few a Frozen themed activities.  I followed the recipe on this mom blog and made two kinds of slime.

Our first batch followed her formula but ended up very springy with a lot of resistance.  I'm calling it Silly Putty, even though that's not quite the right consistency either.  We used blue glitter glue and a bit of white glue to equal 8oz.  I think I should have incorporated the liquid more.  Instead, I pulled out the wad and discarded the rest.  It may have been a difference substance if I had worked at it more.

Dragonfly loves all sensory play and played with the putty the longest.  She couldn't get enough!

All the kids enjoyed the putty.  These are Tadpole's hands.  I think you can almost feel his wonder.  He couldn't stop giggling.

Skimmer enjoyed squishing the putty too.

Next, I made another batch with a smaller amount of borax (no one ate it so we didn't have any adverse reactions).  This mixture was like the goop that you get when you mix water and cornstarch.  The kids loved how it was constantly changing forms.  I liked how it most liked to be with itself and was easy to clean.

Dragonfly absolutely loved the goop!  It was exactly the sort of thing that she enjoys.  We'll have to make it again soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Thanksgiving Freebie

This Turkey Day, I'm thankful for my blog readers!  I made this simple busy bag game as a gift to you.

Click on the link to download it, print out the bag, and paste the letters onto milk jug lids for an easy game to play while the turkey cooks.  Make a few sets and have spelling contests.  A Scrabble cheat site I checked said that there were over 300 words that could be spelled with this one word.

I hope you enjoy the printable.  Happy Thanksgiving!