Showing posts from April, 2015

H is for Homes and Habitats

I recently added a "Pin It" button to my blog, so I've been going back through my previous posts and "pinning" everything to it's rightful board.  You can see my homeschooling planning boards and anything else that interests me on my Pinterest page (here).

One of the things that I've noticed is how bad I've been at blogging our homeschooling journey.  We've been doing "stuff" (or at least reading books about our theme) every week, but I haven't been writing about it.  Bummer.

This week, I'm going to start fresh.  Perhaps I'll do better for the rest of the year (we can hope).

Theme: Homes and Habitats

Practical: map of the area around our home
   -difference between a house and a home
   -looked at maps of where we live

Sensory: building a fairy home
              -sorting animals by habitat

Educational: explored Google Earth
   -talked about earth rotation and revolution
   -talked about days and seasons
   -explored why earthq…

Easy Scented Rice Sensory Bin

In the world of sensory bins, it's easy to get bogged down with complicated small worlds (like the fairy garden) and unnumerable pieces.  My kids like the complicated bins, but they really like the simple ones that I make.  They each have some colored rice and one toy.  That's it.  And, that kept them content for about 20 minutes.  Dragonfly spent most of her time scooping the rice into the "shot glass" and dumping it back out, then running the rice through her fingers.  She's very texture-focused.  Skimmer drove his construction truck around the bin, pushing the rice around in piles.  He tends to enjoy pretend play.  I try to keep this in mind when designing their sensory bins.  Happy kids are worth the mess.

(the white tube is a six inch length of PVC pipe that Tadpole was using as a tunnel for his matchbox truck)

It's My Blogging Birthday!

I've survived year one of blogging!  We're on Pinterest (and I just added a handing "Pin Me" button to all my pictures).  And, today, I just launched a Facebook fan site.  Follow "In Our Pond" on Facebook to get all the latest blog posts and news.

To celebrate my blogging birthday, I made some cupcakes (and muffins).  The free template I used came from the blog, Pieces By Polly.  We already had a metal mini cupcake pan, so I decided to make a variety of baked goods.  The orange-brown ones are pumpkin muffins (my favorite), the tan ones are banana muffins, and there are three chocolate cupcakes and three vanilla ones.

The frosting for the cupcakes is strips of felt about half an inch thick that I twisted and stitched to the cake with invisible thread.  All of my felt came from Michaels Craft, as did most of the matching embroidery thread.  They're stuffed with polyfil.

Here's to a new year!

Power Outage Activities

This morning, we had a power outage.  And, this is what we did while the power was out- sensory bins!
 Tadpole's sensory bin was the easiest one to set up.  I put him in his high chair and gave him a shallow tray with a tiny bit of water.  He had so much fun splashing and giggling.  I think he lasted about 10 minutes before the entertainment factor wore out.  Then, I fed him a snack.
Dragonfly's bin was also pretty simple.  She requested some beans and a cup for filling and dumping.  Her set-up is on the table, so we always add a cookie sheet underneath.  Her main rule for sensory play time is that she has to keep her mess contained within the cookie sheet.
Skimmer had the most complicated set-up.  He requested dinosaurs and pebbles and did very well keeping everything in his tray (not one rock ended up on the floor).  He spent some time dropping rocks in the tube, but mainly he growled and pretended to eat them.

Fairy Garden (Small World Play)

Dragonfly has recently become very interested in fairies.  She loves to watch Disney's Fairies movies and gets very excited when Tinkerbell appears during the credits of any Disney movie.  She has decided she wants a fairy party for her birthday and is sad that I can't make her "real wings that fly" (if only, my sweetheart).  I knew that she would enjoy the special, just-for-girls sensory experience of building a fairy garden.  It took me almost two weeks to gather all the materials, but eventually, I was ready to build it.

We started with a plastic planter from Home Depot, dirt from our "worm box," and a container of "hens and chicks."  The fairies (Safari Toob) and bridge came from Joann Fabric, and the stones came from the dollar store.  Dragonfly loved scooping the dirt and shaping the "land."  The moss was collected from different places around our yard.  As you can see, the little fairy feels quite at home.

Circular Calendar For Children

We've had a circular calendar in our "Apple Room" for several months.  It was one that I made, where each day of the week has it's own color.  The "color wheel" also has an arrow that we move around the calendar clockwise.  It's been very helpful in teaching the kids their colors and the days of the week.  However, we're still struggling a bit.  The calendar needed something more.  So, I set out today to update our set up and this is the result.
I decided to add pictures on each date to help the kids associate the day of the week with the activity that we do that day.  Monday is the day my husband goes back to work on the airplanes (after a 3 day weekend!) so there's an airplane on that date.  Tuesday is laundry day.  Wednesday is dance class.  Thursday is usually the day that we have company for dinner so I've made that baking day.  Friday is shopping, library, errand day.  "Purple Day" is the kids favorite day, since it's the…

Dragonfly's Wardrobe (Clothes=Laundry Series)

Dragonfly is an almost 4 year old girl.  Her main clothes tastes tend to run in skirts and dresses, with pink and more pink being the common theme.  Because of our unpredictable weather, she needs long sleeves and short sleeves, long pants and shorts.  She loves to change outfits throughout the day, and is also potty training.

When I began sorting through her clothes, she had so many that I didn't have room to put them all way.  I ended with 2 garbage bags of clothes to donate.  Here's a picture of the process:

The "keeper" clothes are in the bins and the pile is stuff to donate.  I kept the skirts and dresses that she likes to wear and the long sleeve shirts, pants, short sleeve shirts, and shorts that match them.  I intend to continue to weed out her clothes in the next few months.  I'm moving toward "basic" clothes, which will probably be pink pants and shorts (or possibly black) and plain colored tops.  Of course, if her clothing "likes" c…

Surviving the (foster care) Home Inspection

About once a month or sometimes more, our house has home visits by a social worker.  We're foster parents and "home invasions" are just part of the deal.  However, once a year, we have a *new* social worker in our home, the one who is responsible for licensing us.  It's her job to walk through our house and to make sure that it's still safe for children.  Today was that day.

As I was preparing my house for inspection, I was thinking "This is so strange- I need to blog it."  So, here's my list of 70 things to do to get ready for a yearly re-licensing inspection:

1) Schedule the home visit as early in the morning as possible to give yourself a fighting chance of "winning."

2) Repair all those "little things" that you've been putting off for too long.

3) Pick up kids' room and put them in their rooms for the night.

4) Frantically clean the house.  Aim for "we were expecting you."

5) Fall into bed.  "Pillow tal…

Clothes=Laundry Series (AKA Buried in Fabric)

Today is the day after Easter Sunday.  Spring is here, right?  March came in like a lion and out like a lamb but April seems to think that it needs to be "always winter and never Christmas" around here.  It's been snowing, big, fluffy, Christmas snow for the last four hours (although not accumulating much) and my thought have turned to spring cleaning.  It's no longer nice enough for us to be outside so we might as well start cleaning the inside.

One of my biggest struggles is laundry, clothes, wardrobes, storage, outfits, etc, for my family, but especially my three toddlers.

Firstly, because they're toddlers.  They're messy.  They're often naked.  And, they're potty trained, potty training, or having diaper accidents.  It's hard to know how many clothes they actually need, because I never know how many outfits we're going to need in a day.

Secondly, because they're toddlers.  They're always growing!  I have three kids who are in betw…

Behold the Lamb- A Holy Week Study for Toddlers

We just got done doing a week-long Bible study with our toddlers (ages 2, 3, and 4) called "Behold the Lamb."  The study covered Creation to the Resurrection in a child-friendly way.  We did a Bible story every night, had a discussion, and an activity every night.  Sometimes, we also had a video or special food.  For most of the stories, we used the Jesus Storybook Bible.

Click on the pictures to visit the individual days.

An InLinkz Link-up

Pin It!

Behold the Lamb (Day 7)

"Up from the grave He arose.  With a mighty triumph o'er His foes.  He arose a victor from the dark domain.  And He lives forever with His saints to reign.  He arose!  He arose!  Hallelujah!  Christ arose!"
                            - traditional Easter hymn

We began the day with a reading for the "Easter Story" from the Jesus Storybook Bible, which is called "God's Wonderful Surprise."  Afterwards, we talked about how this day is different from all other days and passed out bags of candy to them (instead of baskets).  At church, we continued the "strange day" by beginning with breakfast before the service started.  During the service, the kids sang three songs about the resurrection, which was special as well.

This post is the last one in my "Behold the Lamb" series.  I'm off now to knit a pink ballet sweater.

Behold the Lamb- Day 6

Traditionally, today has been a day of mourning, silence, and waiting.  We spent the day preparing for tomorrow.  I went shopping alone to buy the kids' outfits for church (nothing like waiting until the last moment!).  When I returned, the kids and I made Resurrection Rolls for brunch at church.  Resurrection rolls are really neat (although a bit confusing for "o-so-literal" toddlers).  They're made from marshmallows, which have been dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon, then "shrouded" in bread dough.  After baking it in the oven, the roll becomes hollow since the marshmallow melted, leaving a sweet, gooey, cinnamon-y center.  So amazingly good!  We had to try them out for dessert before bringing them the church for everyone to eat.

We didn't have a Jesus Storybook Bible reading tonight.  Instead, my husband read from Isaiah 56 in the Bible.  We talked more about how Jesus died for everyone's sins.

And, now, we wait for morning....

Update- Reci…

Behold the Lamb (Day 5)

"So we share in this bread of life.  And we drink of His sacrifice.  As a sign of our love.  Around the table of the King."
      - Kieth and Kristen Getty

From the smell of the homemade unleavened bread, to the smell of the roasted lamb roast, to the flutter of the red paper streamers above the doorway, today is the most interactive of all the stories.  Today, we celebrate the Passover and remember God's redemptive work on the cross.

In the early afternoon, I had the children watch the Jesus Storybook Bible version of the Passover story (called God to the Rescue).  Then, my daughter helped me make the unleavened bread.  We mixed, kneaded, flattened, stabbed, and striped the bread, talking the whole time about the Sinless Savior who was beaten and pierced for us.

We eat the bread to remember Jesus, the Bread of Life.

A few hours later, I placed the lamb roast in the oven.  I had been talking to the kids all week about the source of the lamb (a real animal) and the purpose…

Behold the Lamb (Day 4)

Today is the hardest of all Bible stories- the crucifixion ("The Sun Stops Shining" in the Jesus Storybook Bible).  As a parent, it would have been easy to justify skipping this story, glazing over the yucky parts and pushing toward the happiness of Easter morning.  However, "without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22)" and I want my kids to understand that.  The Bible doesn't leave out the story, so I shouldn't either.

The Jesus Storybook Bible begins at the trial and tastefully leads us to the cross.  It spends a lot of time emphasizing the innocence of Jesus and how everything that had happened was part of God's plan.  We're reminded that "the full force of God's fierce anger at sin was coming down.  On His own Son.  Instead of His people.  It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy His children whose hearts were filled with sin (JSB, pg 306)."

After we finished the story, I removed…

Behold the Lamb (Day 3)

Yesterday, we read the story of the "Terrible Lie" that caused sin and brokenness to enter God's perfect world.  The last words of the story remind us of God's promise that one day, "God Himself would come (JSB, pg 35)."

Today, we skipped most of the Bible (which we had just read during Advent) and read the Christmas story (entitled "The Light of the World!" in the Jesus Storybook Bible).  Since the kids are so young, we wanted to remind them about the Jesus they already knew- the baby- before we deal with the crucifixion later this week.  Continuing the theme of Jesus being the Lamb of God, we read the story about the shepherds visiting.

Our Bible time was rushed tonight because the kids were very restless.  And, this blog post is shorter than normal because I just got back from buying our Passover lamb.

You can watch the Jesus Storybook Bible video of this story on Youtube.