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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pixar Cars Puzzles

These puzzles are Cars-themed because my kids love everything with wheels and especially the Cars movies.  They can be used as either a busy bag activity (cut out the playing pieces and the boards) or as a folder game (leave the puzzle boards uncut and only cut out the playing pieces).

Obviously, I don't own the Cars images.  The pictures came from Disney Wiki.  As always, I'm offering the printable for free.  To download it, click here.

Christian Montessori Network
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Monday, June 29, 2015

In Depth Adoption Theme- Flintstones

As I've been working on Tadpole's adoption party, I got a bit carried away with an adoption theme I don't plan on using.  The theme is "Bamm Bamm was Adopted Too" or "We're Wild About This One."  I love the theme, but it doesn't fit our family as well as I had hoped.  So that I don't waste all that Pinteresting, I'll share some of my favorite ideas with you.  As always, please pin at the original source.
from FamilyShoppingBag.com
THIS website has free Flintstones' party printables.
from Etsy.com
THIS adorable Bamm Bamm costume is only $15 for a toddler size.  So fun!
from raisingcajuns.com
THIS mom made a really neat cave out of a box for her kids and then let them do cave paintings.  I think it would be so neat to decorate with family cave paintings *Krood* style.
from kellygenelife.wordpress.com
THIS idea comes from a puppy party, but I think the bone meat and cheese platter would be "dog-gone" cute as dinosaur bones.
I really like the look of THIS jungle party.  The handmade felt leaf garland is just the best.
The mini party hats on THESE dinosaurs are very cute.  Of course, my party plans were going to include lots of dinosaurs.

Well, that's it.  I hope it inspires you!

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Foster-to-Adopt Party Theme Ideas

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

It seems like its hard to find ideas for adoption party themes, especially if you're adopting from foster care.  I've been planning Tadpole's adoption party and looking at all my old Pinterest ideas.  Here are some to consider if you're working on your own foster-to-adopt party.

Foster-to-Adopt Party Theme Ideas from In Our Pond

Pun Party Themes

"Luke was Adopted Too" (Star Wars)

"Welcome to Our Zoo" (zoo)

"We're Wild About This One" (jungle)

"Wanted: Asleep or Awake" (cowboy)

"Bee-ing Loved" or "Sweet as Honey" (bees)

"We Found the Missing Piece" (puzzles)

"Showers of Blessings" (rain/umbrella/rainbows)

"You are My/Our Sunshine" (sunflowers/yellow)

"You Color Our World" (paint/color/art)

"Superman was Adopted Too" (superhero)

"Our Family was Built by Adoption" (construction)

"This is My Circus- These are My Clowns" (circus)

"Love Changes Everything" (metamorphosis)

"Stole My Heart" (outlaw/bandit)

"We Want S'More" (camping)

"Caught Ya" (bugs)

"Bamm Bamm was Adopted Too" (Flintstones/dinosaurs)

"Some People are Worth Melting For" (Frozen/luau/beach)

"No Longer a Lost Boy" (Peter Pan)

"Sweet as Sugar Candy" (candyland/ lollipops)

"Bloom Where Your Planted" (garden/flowers)

"Sew Cute" (sewing/buttons)

"All American" (USA)

"Home Grown" (farm/tractors)

"Building Our Family Brick by Brick" (legos)

Foster-to-Adopt Party Theme Ideas from In Our Pond
Our most recent adoption party (Feb 2014)
Themes We've Done

- Girly Girl (pink, black, and white paisley)

- "We Found Nemo" or "O-fish-ally Adopted" (nemo/coral reef)

- "This Family was Built by Adoption" (construction)

To Read the Rest of the 40 Party Ideas,
Click on the Pictures Below

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

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Pin for Later!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"To the Edge" VBS Daily Log

Space Commander Daily Log, Day 1, Entry 1:  I wish our VBS launch schedule hadn't collided with the family reunion last weekend.  All I can think about is sleep.  My brain is foggy.  My kids are grumpy.  How are we going to get through the day?

Space Commander Daily Log, Day 1, Entry 2:  Kids too tired and excited to nap.  Mom needs sleep!  Send reinforcements.

Space Commander Daily Log, Day 2, Entry 1:  Kids sneaked a bottle of soap into their room last night and painted themselves and their room with it.  Baths first thing this morning,  One of the kids was starting to smell like a space chimp so the bath isn't necessarily bad.  When am I going to get the energy to clean up their room?

Space Commander Daily Log, Day 3, Entry 1:  I hit a wall and no longer care if my kids have shoes to wear to church.  They're happier barefoot so we're going "just as you are" today.

Space Commander Daily Log, Day 3, Entry 2:  We're running low on provisions.  Huston, send help.

Space Commander Daily Log, Day 4, Entry 1:  It's a bit of a thrill to get in the shower and wonder what you'll find when you come back out.  Will the kids have torn apart the house like space monkeys?  Will there be bananas smashed everywhere?  Will they have gone on a space walk without telling me?  Or will the stay in front of the movie that I put on?

Space Commander Daily Log, Day 4, Entry 2:  The hardest part of my day is trying to keep the kids awake while I drive home.  I must succeed!  Or risk an incomplete cycle of hyper sleep.  I really can't do any more nights of kids bouncing on the bed late into the night.

Space Commander Daily Log, Day 5, Entry 1:  Well, we didn't find the Edge of the Universe, God sure pushed me to the edge this week.  I did the 2 Ways 2 Live Gospel presentation, and had three children decide to take the crown off of their own heads, lay it at Jesus' feet, and acknowledge that Jesus is King.  It was pretty neat.  I had never been the main teacher before and was pretty intimidated about it.  But, I'm glad I go to lead them and teach them this week.  I know I'll never be the same.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Transportation on Antarctica

I used a Google search to find the pictures for this printable.  It has 12 pictures of transportation that people use on Antarctica.  Also included in the packet is a "control of error" card with all the "answers" and three sorting labels.

These cards can be used for a sorting game, a matching game, spelling practice, or 3-part cards.  I plan on using them with my "p is for penguin" unit; although they would work well for a continent box as well.

To download them for free, click here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Step-by-Step Montessori Series (DIY School Supplies)

I was feeling a little antsy, I realized what my problem was- I hadn't crafted in over a week!  Straight to the craft supplies bins I went and out came the glue gun.  In very little time, I had whipped out these Montessori-inspired DIY's for our homeschooling.

These silly things are quick and easy tongs.  I hot glued two flat sticks (craft store) to a spring clothespin.  I'm hoping the kids will be able to use them for transferring work.  And, that they'll be easy to replace when they break.  I was inspired by a pin I saw, similar to this one.

One of the themes that I keep running into in Montessori education is sorting objects by whether they go on the land, the water, or the air.  Many times, the kids are also given a 3-D representation of the 3 elements (like this).  My version is made from very toddler-friendly plastic bottles (dollar store).  One bottle (not pictured) is empty to represent air, one is filled with dirt from our yard to show land, and one has glittery water.  I know the glitter probably isn't very "Montessori" but I couldn't resist after making the dull air and dirt bottles.

Quilt Pieces Game

Free logic games (rainbow and black and white).  I'm going to be using them with my Q is for Quilt unit.  To download, click here.

We're linked up!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Our Third Family Road Trip (ocean)

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 the Picture to Visit the Post
Olympic Penninsula with 3 Kids Under 4 from In Our Pond #travel #pacificnorthwest #roadtrip #travelwithkids #seattle #oceanwithkids #orca #ocean #beachtrip

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Adoption Songs

Sometime this summer, we're supposed to adopt Tadpole.  He's been living in our home as a foster child since he was two days old.  In many ways, he feels like he's already "ours."  As part of my preparations for the "big day," I've been looking for the perfect adoption song.  Here are a few samples:

This is Home by Switchfoot
"This is home.
Now I'm finally where I belong
Where I belong
Yeah, this is home
I've been searching for a place of my own
Now I've found it
Maybe this is home
This is home"

Take Good Care of My Baby by Carole King
"Once upon a time that little girl was mine
If I'd been true, I know she'd never be with you
So, take good care of my baby
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover that you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me"

Child of My Heart by Becky Wright
"One day you might ask me, what was my first mommy like?
Did my parents love me?  And do I have my daddy's eyes?
But all the reasons and explanations may not satisfy
So I'll hold you close and pray you feel the love I have inside
Your the child of my heart, child of my love
Specially chosen, no accident, sent from God above."

You are Mine by the Go Fish Guys
"You are mine, I will never leave you
I will see you through the night and be here in the morning
Close your eyes and have a good time dreaming
Knowing you will never be alone
Cause you are mine"

Dragonfly's special song is "Call Me Loved" by Becky Wright (Youtube)

Skimmer's song is "A Mother's Prayer" by Rachel Aldous (Youtube)

Now, what shall be Tadpole's song?

Updated with More Songs- June 24, 2015

Someone is Waiting for You by Stephen Sondheim
"Be brave little one
Make a wish for each sad little tear
Hold your head up through no one is near
Someone is waiting for you"

Safe and Sound by Matthew West
"Can't believe you're here now
Tiny dream come true
The answer to a prayer now
I'm so in love with you"

All I Really Want by Steven Curtis Chapman
"All I really want (for Christmas)
Is someone who'll be there
To sing me happy birthday
For the next 100 years
And its ok that they're not perfect
And, even if they're a little broken
That's alright- cause so am I"

Mine to Love by Dave Barnes
"You're mine to love
We've all been waitin' on you
Your mine to love
Come into these open arms
It took some time to wait it out
But I see it now
You're worth all the dreaming
You're mine to love"

We're linked up!
Christian Montessori Network

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pirate Bingo/Matching

Arrg!  We've been spending time at the ocean and that's made me think about pirates.  Here be a pirate printable for you.

Click here to download.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Circus Bingo/Matching Game

I'm on vacation, but I can't stop making preschool printables!  This one is a bingo board with four levels of cards for matching.  The cartoon circus objects can be paired with either an identical object card, a shadow card, a beginning sounds uppercase letter card, or a lowercase beginning sounds card.  As always, the game is free.

To download, click here.

Year One Review

The public schools are finishing up this week, so we decided to end our formal studies as well.  As I think about the past year, here are a few of my favorite things:

- free printables created by other people (especially Imagine Our Life and Every Star is Different)
- my laminator (available on Amazon here)
- Universal laminating sheets (here)
- big zipper pouches for binders (Staples)
- Safari Ltd Toobs (like these)
- the local library

Basically, our entire first year of homeschooling can be summed up with those six things.  Next year, I hope to add some more hands-on materials including more Toobs, life-cycle figurines, a globe, a felt world map, and lots more printed materials.  I'd like for us to continue introducing bits and pieces of the Montessori method.  Eventually, I hope to have "learning shelves" with trays of activities for them to chose from during school time.

With Dragonfly (who will be 4), I'd like to see her master numbers and their values (at least through 10), begin to identify letters, and continue to be excited about learning.  We will also be working on practical and "school-readiness" skills.  She's very science motivated (and is getting a microscope for her birthday), so many of our units will emphasize scientific content, vocabulary, and methods.  Perhaps she will be like my husband and be motivated to learn to read so that she can read reference materials.

Skimmer and Tadpole will join Dragonfly's studies are they are able.  I will also continue to work with them on practical skills (listening, obeying, dressing, toileting, etc).

I'm excited for next year and have already began to prepare for it.  Stay tuned!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer Themes- Universe

Montessori Tray Work- spooning
Next week is our Day Camp at church.  The theme is Space, so I thought we should spend this week studying the universe at bit.

I got a new camera recently, so I tried to focus on taking more pictures.

Theme: Universe

Sensory: space play dough
                space toob sensory bin

Activities: eat like an astronaut
                  planting flags
                  earth-sun model with cake pan
                  spooning marbles out of rice
                  spooning stars
                  counting stars
                  space dust writing
                  moon roll and cover
                  months of the year puzzle

Books: "On the Moon"
            "Roaring Rockets"
            "At the Same Moment, All Around the World"
            "Why is the Sun so Bright?"
            "Who Works in Space?"

Song: "The Earth Goes Around the Sun"

A View of Our Work:
This activity turned out to be very difficult for my kids' ages (3 and 2).  They had trouble pealing the stickers off and more trouble getting them onto the paper.  I'm not sure they even enjoyed the process.  It's one that I can see them wanting to do as they get a bit older.  I saw a neat idea on Pinterest where the kids used the stars to outline constellations.  Look for this visit to come back again.

Ok, so this isn't the kids' school work- it's mine.  I made the circle skirt for my "Science Girl."  She loves it.  The fabric came from Hobby Lobby.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Boys' Car Activity Bag

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

4 Year Old's Car Activity Bag

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

DIY Road Trip Games

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

Monday, June 15, 2015

Step by Step Montessori Series (our classroom)

I've been hesitant to post too much about our classroom area, because I don't think it's very "Pinterest-worthy."  It's also not a good example of Montessori, since my storage area is set up more for storage than child-driven activities.  Since I started this "Step by Step Montessori" series, I've gotten the courage to blog about our learning set-up.  Here's the breakdown:

1- craft supply storage area
2- theme binders
3- books
4- random storage
5- cookie cutters and sensory materials
6- our work trays
7- microwave and coffeemaker
8- school supplies
9- sewing machine/supplies

As you can see, my "classroom" storage shelves reflect the eclectic nature of our "apple room."  It's our eating place, our mud room, our storage area, our office, and our home school classroom.  This is another reason why I didn't want to show *anyone* this picture.

 The Safari Toobs are stored in the bin labeled "invitation to play" with each set in it's own Crystal Lite container.  The shoe box above the bin holds all the loose sensory materials.

The 3-drawer cart is my version of a Montessori shelf of activity trays.  Because of my kids' ages (still all under 4), I chose the kids' activities.  The kids always sit in their high chairs/booster seats for school time, but, eventually, I'd like to teach them to use "the rug."

 These are our themed binders.  Last year, I crammed everything into two binders, but this year I expanded to eight.  I'm preparing a separate post about the contents of these folders and how I set up all my printed materials.
The two bins next to the mixer are filled with more school supplies.  The one on the right is full of our "tools."  It has trays, bowls, ice cube trays, and kitchen implements.  The one of the left looks disorganized, but it has smaller containers inside it with our tiny counters, life cycle sets, and random other themed stuff.  Office-type school supplies are stored in a plastic shoe box in my bedroom.

This is the "teaching wall" of our classroom (sorry about the glare).
1- Days of the Week calendar with picture reminders
2- themed pictures to introduce our topics (this was during Space week)
3- build-a-letter representation of our letter of the week
3- sign language poster for the letter of the week
6- coat closet area for the kids' coats

We're linked up:
Christian Montessori Network

Friday, June 12, 2015

Step by Step Montessori (snack drawer)

A wise person once told me: "Montessori looks different for everyone."  The advice couldn't have been more freeing.  I had been all tied in images I had seen of people's homes, but I couldn't see my own life/home fitting those images.  Ones like this, this, and this.  I'm not saying that these people are doing Montessori "wrong," instead I'm reminding myself not to be intimidated.
Please pin at original sources (see above for websites)
So, I've decided to take it step by step.  My first step is a snack drawer for my kids.  My Montessori doesn't need to look like anyone else's Montessori- this is my mantra.  And, this is my end result:
A small, ill-used drawer with just a few "convenience" snacks in it.  The kids can access these at any time (although I do cut them off about an hour and a half before dinner).  I'm training them away from the bad habit of climbing on the counter to get a snack.  Perhaps soon, I'll do something similar in the fridge.  For now, this is step one.  And, I'm okay with that.

Challenge: Pick one place, one small thing, and change it.

Q is for Quilts

We didn't end up doing very much this week, but here are a few ideas.

Theme: Q is for Quilt

Activities: magnetic quilt pieces
                  pattern blocks

Books: "Nature's Patchwork Quilt"
            "Mother Earth and Her Children"
            "The Kindness Quilt"

And, so ends Year One of our Homeschooling Career!

Follow In Our Pond's board "Q is for Quilt" on Pinterest.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Printables (a complete list)

This used to be my holding post for all my free printables.  I reorganized them and made them much neater.  You can now find all of them by clicking on the picture below.

June 11, 2015
I've also decided to include a never-before-seen bonus printable!  Dragonfly is really into matching activities lately, especially ones where one set of cards is stationary (like in my pirate treasure maps).  Just for her, I've made this Mickey Mouse color matching map.  Obviously, I don't own Mickey- the images came from disney.wikia.com.  You can find the direct link to the game here.

We're linked up:
Christian Montessori Network