See Winter

We love A Dolphin's Tale and SeeWinter.com. We're watching Winter a little bit right now right here, but Winter seems to be a little sleepy tonight so we made our own Winter movie. Watch Louise's lego Winter swim!


Reading Day

Ah, Mondays. Sometimes our weekends are so full, we need a rest from the weekends! But Monday comes, and we can't afford to get behind in school. So I did a little shuffling with our weekly schedule to make last Monday a little different to get us excited about starting a new week. We had just been to the library and it was time to start some new books, so reading day seemed like a fun idea.

So what do you need for a great Reading Day?

1. Books. We started with 6 books, and replaced our usual subjects with extra readings. We started two new chapter books (Royal Monastic and Island of the Blue Dolphins) from which we read several chapters in a sitting. The rest were easy reader books that we read all in one sitting (including Poppleton books, Arnold Lobel's Grasshopper on the Road, and Henry and Mudge books), and we ended up adding in a few extras of these.

2. Schedule. I organized our schedule the same way I usually do - with a checklist in a spiral book for each child, but today's usual subjects were all replaced with reading. So today's check list looked something like this:

  • Read during breakfast. 
  • Read.
  • Morning walk, and read outside.
  • Quiet reading time on your own.
  • Read again.
  • Snack and Read.
  • Read.
3. Post-its. Before we started on our schedule, we decided to read each book in a different place. I put a post-it on each book, and let the girls choose where we'd read each one. We wrote the location on the post-it. We chose Grasshopper on the Road for our outside reading, Louise thought it would be fun to read Poppleton in the Pop-asan (papasan chair), and then the girls each picked their bed for their favorite book.

4. Cozy socks. A last minute idea, to help make today feel extra special, everyone put on warm socks so we could be cozy while reading.

After we got organized, we read through our schedule. I tried to put the next book in its place while the girls checked off their list. I was just trying to stay organized, but the girls thought it was like a treasure hunt. So when we took our quick morning walk, we picked some flowers and then we arrived on the porch; and there they found a vase ready for our flowers, and our next book waiting. Later their books were waiting in their beds with snacks. A successful treasure hunt indeed! We went through most of our stack of library readers, and got started on new novel and biography with lots of snuggles, so I'd say a pretty successful day. 


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!