Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Homemade Plantable Paper (AKA Seed Bombs)

One of the homemade presents that the girls made for Christmas were these colorful pieces of plantable paper (also known as "seed bombs").  They make a cute holiday gift and make planting flowers really easy (just put them on the ground, sprinkle with soil, make sure they get enough water and soon flowers will appear).  This was a great way to incorporate two of the topics we've been learning about in Homeschool Kindergarten - seeds and recycling.  Here's what we did..

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Homemade Gift - Toddler Crayons

This week the girls and I have been creating a variety of homemade gifts.  One of these projects was to recycle broken crayon pieces into new multicolored crayons for their little brother.  It was really easy (and not as messy as I thought it would be).  Here's how we did it..

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Homeschool Kindergarten Lesson Plans - Weeks 11-14

Are we really almost half way through the school year?  If you follow my blog, you'll see some of the unit studies we've been doing in Kindergarten, but I want to share some of the "other stuff" that I've been working on with the girls that don't fall into our weekly themes...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 in Homeschool Kindergarten

I'm about a week late posting this, but here's a look at some of the activities we did in Homeschool Kindergarten leading up to Thanksgiving.  I started off the week by having the girls read Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving and watching The Mayflower Voyages (Charlie Brown).  Then we made this cute Mayflower craft from Family Fun magazine.  The girls helped me cut the base out of a paper back and the sails out of white printer paper.  They enjoyed decorating the ships and writing messages on the sails - E wrote "Give to others" and L wrote "Friend".  Throughout the week we wrote the things we were thankful for on little strips of paper and put them in the boats.  Here's more of what we did..

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kindergarten Unit: All About Me!

Last week's thematic unit in Homeschool Kindergarten was "All About Me!"  It was a lot of fun for the girls to learn more about both their physical bodies and their personalities.  As usual, I had so many ideas that we didn't get to, but the activities we fit in were a lot of fun and I know that we have many years of homeschooling to come for revisiting the subject!  Here are the highlights of our week:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Homeschool Kindergarten Lesson Plans - Week 10

We're getting into a good rhythm with our homeschooling time and the girls have been enjoying a wide variety of learning activities.  I've been starting to integrate some themed units 2-3 days a week (like our mini unit on Johnny Appleseed and more learning units I'll post about next week), so this really helps to break up the monotony and makes the kids more receptive to the 'regular' school activities that we do the rest of the week.  Here's the latest from this week...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Johnny Appleseed - Kindergarten/Pre-K Mini Unit

Earlier this week, the girls read a story about Johnny Appleseed and we decided to turn it into a mini-unit.  E actually refused to participate, but L and I had a great time with Johnny Appleseed crafts, learning about the parts of a plant, making observations about apples and more!  Take a look...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Homeschool Kindergarten Lesson Plans - Week 9 {and Halloween!}

This was a fun and laid back Homeschool Kindergarten / Pre-K week for us.  I tried to make most of our activities centered around the Halloween theme to give the girls something special to get excited about.  Here's what we did:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Homeschool Kindergarten Lesson Plans - Weeks 7 & 8

We went on vacation for a week, so our school has been less formal lately (but still a lot of fun).  While we were visiting my in-laws, the kids had a great time playing in corn kernels, feeding goats, riding on a barrel train, exploring a corn maze, and picking out mini pumpkins.  We're continuing our fall theme with some seasonal crafts and learning games.  Here's some of what we've been doing..

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tot School - 25 Months

H (25 months) wants to do everything his older sisters do, so when he gets to work on his own learning activities, he just glows and I can tell he feels like a "big boy".  I've been trying out some new tot trays on him lately and he tackles each new challenge with so much enthusiasm.  Here's a glimpse into what he's been up to..

Monday, October 14, 2013

Making Tiny Clay Pumpkins

Last week, the twins (4 years old) and I made some cute little pumpkin decorations out of Crayola  Model Magic.  It was super easy and lots of fun.  Here's how we did it..

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Homeschool Kindergarten Lesson Plans - Week 6

After going to two fall festivals last weekend (and another one this weekend), we've all been enjoying some autumn-themed learning activities in our homeschool (like the autumn leaf scratch-art in the picture above).  It's amazing how some simple seasonal crafts can elevate the girls' level of enthusiasm about school.  Here's what we did this week.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learning About Desert Habitats - Pre-K/ Kindergarten Unit

The Geography workbook we're going through (Evan-Moor Beginning Geometry Grades K-2) includes overviews of the various types of animal habitats, and I wanted to extend this into a series of mini-units.  After watching The Magic School House Dries Up, the girls and I explored desert habitats further with some fun hands on activities and crafts..

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Homeschool Kindergarten Lesson Plans - Week 5

L and E are doing great with homeschool Pre-K/ Kindergarten this year.  We engage in learning activities 7 days a week, so some days end up being more formal instruction (activity trays that I set up for them to complete) while other days are filled with reading together and playing.  Here's a recap of what we did this week:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Draw Write Now Review

My 4 year old twins are little artists, and in the search for drawing books for them I ran across the Draw Write Now series and bought the 1st (farm animals) and 8th (land animals) books for the girls.  My kids have been enjoying learning to draw animals using this program so much that I felt compelled to write a review..

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tot School 24 Months {Yes, My baby is 2!!}

I'm still in shock that my little dude is 2 years old!  My tiny helpless baby has turned into such a sweet, amazing, and independent toddler.  I've been having a great time playing alongside him and watching him learn and grow in leaps and bounds.  Here are some of the activities we've been enjoying together lately during our Tot School sessions..

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Egyptian Hieroglyphs Free Printable Worksheet for Pre-K through 2nd Grade

During our study of Ancient Egypt last month (for Story of the World), I had a hard time finding activities for learning Egyptian Hieroglyphs that were appropriate for my 4 year-olds.  After a lot of searching, I decided to just make my own worksheet, which I'm sharing with Learners In Bloom readers for free at:  Egyptian Hieroglyphs Printable Worksheet for Little Kids .  Here's what's included..

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cooking with Kids: Watermelon with Goat Cheese Snacks

I've been cooking with my twin girls (4 years old) since before they were 2 years old.  Now they're finally starting to be real helpers and we've been having a great time trying out all sorts of recipes together.  It's a great way to practice Montessori Practical Life skills, fine motor skills, math, and to get the kids to experiment with trying new foods.  A couple weeks ago, we tried out a flavor combination that was completely new to us - watermelon with goat cheese.  Here's how we made them..

Monday, September 16, 2013

Homeschool Kindergarten Math Lesson Plans - Month 1

The twins and I have been having a great time "playing math" during our first month of Homeschool Pre-K / Kindergarten.  The system that is currently working for us for learning math is to cover a variety of topics every week and then revisit them later in new and interesting ways.  This seems to work better than trying to drill a certain math concept until the kids get it - I'd rather demonstrate math in context using hands-on activities and games.  I know that they will get an understanding of each topic when they are ready.  Here are some the math skills we've been working on and the activities we do for learning them..

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tot School - 23 Months

Baby H will be a 2-year-old in less than a month!  He is such a fun little kid to play with and I find great joy in our special Tot School time when I can interact with him one-on-one.  Here are some of the learning activities he's been enjoying this month...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ancient Egypt Unit: Building a Pyramid

A couple weeks ago, my girls learned about Ancient Egypt in our homeschool Kindergarten.  We read about Egypt in The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer and then added additional books, videos, and hands-on projects for enrichment.  One of the activities we did for this learning unit was to build a pyramid.  L and E worked on their pyramid every day for an entire week, and it turned out great.  Here's the process we went through..

Monday, August 26, 2013

Homeschool Kindergarten Typical Daily Schedule

We don't have a strict schedule for our homeschool Kindergarten work, but we do have a basic daily rhythm that we follow.  As part of the iHomeschool Network's "Not" Back to School blog hop, homeschooling families we'll be sharing a "day in the life" posts this week.  Here's a glimpse into one of our typical days..

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pony Cake for 4th Birthday

With all the educational fun the kids and I have been having lately, I almost forgot to post a photo of the pony cake I made for the twins' 4th birthday.  This is about as close as I'm going to get to a Martha Stewart moment!

It's surreal to think that four years ago I was taking care of two little preemie babies and now my little girls are already school-age and constantly impressing me with all the incredible things they can do...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kindergarten Curriculum for Our New School Year

This month I am joining other homeschool bloggers at the 5th Annual "Not" Back-to-School Blog Hop.  The topic for this week is "Curriculum".  L and E just turned 4, but they are reading at a mid-first-grade level, and have mastered about 75% of the items in Common Core for Kindergarten Math, so I'm just going to go ahead and start Kindergarten with them this year (with some first grade materials thrown in as well).  We already started our school year earlier this summer, but I think the first month was more for getting into a rhythm and seeing what will and won't work.  Here's our curriculum right now...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tot School - 22 Months

Baby H (22 months old) has been getting lots of Tot School time every day in his high chair while his older sisters complete their worksheets.  I've been trying to provide a variety of games and learning activities for him, but I'm honestly having a hard time keeping up with this kid since he picks things up so quickly.  Here's what we've been up to...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Early Mapping Skills - Picture Copying

This simple learning activity doesn't take many materials or preparation, but it boosts all sorts of cognitive abilities in your little ones...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Releasing Our Butterflies

Last month we had the delightful experience of raising our own caterpillars and observing their amazing transformation into butterflies.  Releasing our ten Painted Lady butterflies out into the world created some magical moments for the girls..

Friday, June 21, 2013


If you follow my blog, you know that my twins are now reading.  The next logical step (other than improving their reading fluency) is to work on spelling.  Thus it was quite timely to receive an invitation to review VocabularySpellingCity.com.  I'll be trying it out with my girls and then posting my feedback on this blog.. stay tuned!

Disclosure: I've been given a Premium Membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com for a candid, personal, online review. VocabularySpellingCity helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as Unscramble, Hangman, WordFind, and Crossword Puzzle. Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of free teaching resources on topics such as Multiple Meaning Words and Possessive Nouns . Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.There might be more free memberships available for bloggers. If you're interested, find out how you can review VocabularySpellingCity.com.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Observing Caterpillars

Two weeks ago, we received some mail-order caterpillars.  The girls (and I) have been having a great time observing them and learning about the butterfly life cycle...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tot School - 21 Months Old

H is 21 months old - I can't believe that 2-years-old is just around the corner! Lately, I've been really absorbed in working with H's older sisters (almost 4 years old) now that they've started reading, so getting that one-on-one Tot School time with my little boy is really special for us both.  H is such a quick learner that I often have a hard time keeping up with him and thinking up activities that are enough of a challenge for my clever little dude...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Model Building with Preschoolers

This afternoon, the twins (almost 4 years old) and I built a wooden 'model' firetruck.  Although the label said that the set was for ages 8+, my preschoolers did an excellent job (with some help, of course), and it was a neat project to work on together.  Little did my kids realize that this was a learning activity requiring math, spatial reasoning, and problem solving skills...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hidden Words Reading Game with 3D Glasses

A couple weeks ago we got a game with 3D glasses and a workbook with objects to find in a Chick-Fil-A kids meal.  The kids enjoyed playing the game as intended, but were particularly fascinated with the glasses.  I made them a fun reading game with hidden words that could only be read using the 'magic' glasses.  You can make this game using any red tinted see-through object (color paddles, Magna-Tiles, etc..).  This game provided lots and lots of entertainment (and reading practice) for my kids. Here's how it's done..

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Teach Your Preschooler to Read!


Today I am participating in a guest blogger series on teaching your children to read on Life & Lessons from a Country Road.   In my guest post, I describe some of the lessons I've learned as I taught my twins to read by age 3.5.  Please head over there and check it out!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Homeschool Preschool - April

The twins are 3.5 years old.  I hope some readers have stuck around through my blogging hiatus this month.  We're moving (again) so April involved a lot of sorting through all the kids' toys and homeschool activities and organizing/packing everything.  We still do Homeschool Preschool twice a day, but the packing has drained my creativity so we've stuck with activities that are already on hand.  Here are some highlights..

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tot School - 18 months

Baby H is 18 months old.  I haven't been keeping up with taking photos of all our learning activities and explorations lately, but I really want to write about all the neat thing my little boy has been doing...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Apple Peanut Butter Crunch Snacks for Kids

My kids absolutely love snacks that they can make themselves, and this apple peanut butter crunch do-it-yourself snack fits the bill perfectly!  It's really simple, fun, and tasty.  Here's how we made it..

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Homeschool Preschool - Weeks 29 & 30

L and E are 3.5 years old.  If you follow this blog and have been wondering what has happened to my plan of doing a book-related activity every day in March, well we've actually been sticking to it.  However, my kids have been doing so great with our Homeschool Preschool sessions lately (2-3 times a day for about an hour each session), that I've kept the book activities pretty simple.  Sometimes we read a book and then watch a YouTube movie about the subject, or complete a puzzle on the theme, etc.. nothing that would be interesting enough to blog about.  Here's a little glimpse of what we've been working on in preschool over the past two weeks..

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rainbow Toast {Painting Bread}

When the girls saw Rainbow Toast in their Highlights High Five Magazine (back-issue from 2007 from Ebay), they begged me to let them try it out... so we did!  This activity was a great way to make a snack using all sorts of Montessori practical life skills and creativity.  Here's how to do it..

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Indoor Penguin Snow Play! {Antarctic Antics and My Penguin Osbert}

It snowed this past weekend, but instead of bundling the kids up in layers upon layers of winter clothing, I decided to bring the snow play indoors this time!  And why not integrate it with a mini-unit on penguins?  Here's what we did..

Monday, March 11, 2013

Paper Rainbows Activity {What Makes a Rainbow}

Rainbows seem to be a popular theme in March for St. Patrick's Day, so today the girls and I joined in the fun and made our own paper rainbows.  Our book of the day was What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz, and this little activity was a nice way to wrap up our afternoon session of Homeschool Preschool.  Here's how the girls made these lovely rainbows..

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dog Stencils {Hairy Maclary Activity}

I like to take a break from blogging on the weekends so I can spend time with my kids.  We haven't been slacking on our book-a-day challenge for March, though.  Yesterday I read the girls a couple books in the Hairy Maclary series by Lynley Dodd, and our activity was to use make artwork using dog stencils.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Homeschool Preschool - Weeks 27 & 28

L and E are 3.5 years old.  The whole family is now feeling better after nearly a month of being sick with various colds, so we're back to doing more Homeschool Preschool activities.  Here's what we've been up to...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Brown Bear Straw Toppers

Aren't these straw toppers / puppets adorable?  Our book of the day was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle, and I surprised the kids with these super-cute straw-topper puppets.  They were so much fun to make, and we had a great time retelling the story with them...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sorting Art Cards {Fancy Nancy at the Museum}

Like yesterday's selection, today's book is a vocabulary-builder as well: Fancy Nancy at the Museum by Jane O'Connor.  The Fancy Nancy books are early readers so they aren't literary classics by any means, but my girls (3.5 years old) enjoy them a lot.  In this story, Nancy goes to the art museum on a class field trip.  After an eventful bus ride, the class finally gets to the museum where they are shown the difference between portraits, landscapes, and still life paintings.  Our activity expanded on this concept, as the girls sorted art cards..

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Alphabet Soup {Carmine: A Little More Red}

I read somewhere that children's book authors are sent a list of words (mostly sight-words) that they are 'allowed' to use in their books.  I'm not sure if this is true or not, but it makes me sad. That's why I'm always excited to discover a new book that will expand my children's vocabulary.  I absolutely love the book Carmine: A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet which has taught my 3-year-olds some wonderful new words.  The story starts out by explaining that Carmine's grandmother taught her how to read by making alphabet soup.  It then proceeds to retell the story of Little Red Riding Hood where each paragraph highlights one word that starts with each letter of the alphabet.   For our activity today we made our own version of alphabet soup...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Grouping Family Members {Five Creatures}

Today's book of the day was Five Creatures by Emily Jenkins.  It's a fun book about a family with five creatures (a girl, her parents, and two cats) and all the different ways they can be put into groups.  For our activity, the girls drew pictures of our family (eight creatures total) and we came up with different ways of classifying ourselves...

Dr. Deuss Activities for Little Kids

In celebration of the birthday of Dr. Seuss on March 2nd, I thought I'd put together a little roundup of the activities we've done over the past year related to books by Dr. Seuss...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Painting Whales {The Snail and the Whale}

Today's "Book of the Day" was The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson.  I love the rhythm of Donaldson's books and they are always a joy to read.  I especially like the illustrations in this one (by Axel Scheffler) because the kids get a chance to identify all sorts of different animals and habitats.  For our little activity we watched a video of a beached whale rescue and used watercolor paints to color whales..

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Silly Creature Drawing Prompt {There's a Wocket in My Pocket}

March is National Reading Month and we're going to celebrate by trying to do a book-related activity every day.  It may be as simple as a little craft or acting out the story, but I'll also try to add some themed units into the mix as well.  We got an early start today by doing a little drawing prompt based on the book There's a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss..

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tot School - 17 Months

H is 17 months old.  I have to gush about the photo above - aren't those sweet little hands just the cutest?  The learning spurt is still in full swing and we've been doing many different activities to stimulate all the senses and practice fine motor skills...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Journey Through Colorado History {Booking Across the USA}

I am very excited to be part of the Booking Across the USA project hosted by Growing Book by Book.  Today I am joining over 50 other bloggers in sharing a children's book and activity for my state.  The Rocky Mountains always come to mind when people think of Colorado, but I wanted to cover a different aspect of the state.  I was happy to find a new picture book called Dreaming of Colorado: A Children's Bedtime Story, written by Grant Collier and illustrated by Stephanie Lowman.  The book takes its characters through a magical canoe ride backwards in time through Colorado's history.  So the girls hopped into their own magic canoe (laundry basket) and we set off on our own historical adventure...