Back to (Home)School with Animal Bookmark Printable

dolphin bookmark

We're back to school again, and pretty happy about it. Many families have first day of school traditions to help get everyone excited about the new year. I was only sort of prepared, and so ours stretched into first week of school celebrations, which is just fine with me. 

On our first day, we painted self-portraits, and started reading some new books.

Everyone claimed their quiet reading spot. 

I meant to have donuts for breakfast, but didn't get out to the store. So I made toast with butter hearts. I thought they turned out pretty well... but I sort of forgot to mention it to the kids, and I think they ate them without noticing. But hey, the love is there, right?

making toast with love

Later in the week, we got around to grabbing a few new school supplies, and starting the 1st grader on her very own field journal. I'm feeling really good about using spiral notebooks to simply our homeschooling schedule. We'll see if it works for the whole year - but this week, we're all loving it. It helps the kids see how much they have left to do, encourages my new reader to read, and it has a fun schedule built in (when they finish the first two subjects, then they get to have a snack and read on their own).

We have a (mostly) Charlotte Mason style homeschool this year, so there are lots of books. I thought some new bookmarks were in order to get us excited about reading. First we made a few of these easy origami bookmarks. (There are quite a few other origami corner bookmarks with interesting designs. I've pinned several here.)

And then I surprised the kids with some animal bookmarks, featuring their favorite animals: Sea Animals (a dolphin, of course, seahorse, and octopus) and Horses (in well named colors). 

octopus bookmark

golden horse bookmark

lavender seahorse bookmark

I couldn't find all the books in all the places to take pictures, but this shows quite a few. Grab the printable bookmarks below. Print on cardstock, and cut along the gray line. Use an x-acto knife for best results on the interior cut outs. Enjoy!

Happy New School Year! 



After the baby was born, and I started to get back into my old clothes (thank God), I simplified my wardrobe. This why-I-got-rid-of-my-wardrobe post has been going around, and others before it have always intrigued me. Packing up the maternity clothes seemed to be the right time to give it a try.

The post talks a bit about making your closet beautiful (she hangs artwork in her closet). For small-space-people like me, that's just not happening. But I did really appreciate seeing my not-jammed-full closet and getting a better idea of my own style preferences. I see what types of colors and patterns I'm drawn to, and I think it will make shopping more simple in the future.

I followed the idea of the capsule wardrobe loosely. I'm not going to have 4 different wardrobes per year. I wear mostly the same thing all year, with more sweaters in the winter and sandals in the summer.

I gave a lot of clothes to goodwill, and put another bag in the attic in case I changed my mind. So far, I've only gotten one item from it because I needed something green.  What's your closet look like?


Shoe Box Weaving

We've been doing some weaving with shoeboxes this year for our handicrafts class. I found several great video tutorials on youtube (embedded below), but I made a loom on a shoebox instead of a flat piece of cardboard (as shown in the video). Mostly we've just been experimenting with techniques and having lots of fun doing it.


Printable Thank You Cards

We've been talking about gratitude at our house this year, as you may remember from this recent printable gratitude unit. A big part of that is remembering to write thank you notes for kindness and things we receive from others. After I used up my stash of thank you notes, I made this little bundle of printable notes, so that I would always have some handy. I am finding it very helpful for me, maybe more so than the children, to take a few quiet minutes and reflect on the kindness of dear friends in our life and to make that gratitude tangible.

This bundle has 4 simple designs of hand drawn illustrations of some beautiful things in our home: origami butterflies, our new little budgie, an antique globe, and a pinwheel. I made the cards print black and whit, two to a page, to conserve ink. You can print them blank inside, or with fill in the blanks for children who may appreciate writing prompts (as mine do).

I printed them on 60lb paper. This has a really nice feel, but goes through my printer more easily than heavy cardstock. Since they are black and white, I used colored paper, and added a few touches with colored pencils and metallic pens to make them a wee bit fancier.

The kids balked at writing thank you notes for all of their gifts at first, but they have grown to enjoy it - especially with the fill in the blanks and coloring cards. These make them a little fun without being as much work as making a whole card from nothing. 

The printable bundle is available in my shop.

Paper Crafts

My oldest loves crafts of any kind, but especially paper crafts with cutting, folding, glueing, painting. I've been keeping a pinterest board of paper crafts this year for and we've had a lot of fun with many things on the board. Some of these we've incorporated into our schooling, but others have just been for fun. Follow my board for more great ideas!

Idea Source


Little House Lemonade

We're reading the Little House books, and not too long ago we made lemonade to compare it to the powder kind. Man, its better! This Little House Cookbook has been a wonderful accompaniment to the books. It includes a lot of history of food as well as recipes for all the foods in Laura's books. 


Landscape Play Mat

This is a playmat I made last year to represent different animal habitats. We have tons of those little plastic animals, which my kids love, and this is a fun way to play with them. This was one of those ideas that was just in my head for so long, until I finally sat down to do it unplanned. If I were to do it again I'd make a few things different, especially making the landscapes seamless. There are quite a few nice ones on pinterest, of course. 


Teaching Gratitude to Kids Printable Unit

Printable Gratitude Bundle
We've been working on gratitude at our house, and so I've developed a teaching unit "Learning to Give Thanks." The unit pdf include a list of activities with brief instructions for using the printables with each activity, and 24 pages of printables. The bundle includes: 
  • two kinds of thank you cards with an option of fill in the blank text inside for younger writers or blank inside for older kids
  • tokens of gratitude (with game instructions)
  • gratitude journal pages for writing or drawing a daily thankful
  • We're thankful for you! Posters
  • Where did that come from? Game
  • Good manners and Chore Chart
  • Matching stationary for other writing projects
  • Posters of Quotes and Poems about Gratitude

drawing journal

Tokens of Gratitude
thank you cards

Games and Charts and Instructions

The bundle is available in my shop for only $3.00!


Pine Lizards

Lou has been hunting lizards lately. She caught this lizard (she named him Kosmos) by the garden, and Daddy let her keep him overnight in her bug box. The next day when she was letting him go again, she caught another lizard! 

She named the new lizard Cool Chatchman. They got to meet briefly before Louise let the first one go.

We looked him up and discovered he is an Easter Fence Lizard, or a Pine Lizard.  We were really excited to learn that, because last year we found some lizard eggs and let them hatch in a jar on our porch. The day they hatched, we got to see them a bit before letting them go in the garden again. They were also Pine Lizards, so we're just sure this lizard is one of the babies we saw last year. :)

just hatched

She recorded these lizards in her field journal. :)