Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our summer plans

I am enjoying summer with the girls so much.  We have have no schedule and I am loving it!  The girls have been playing so well with each other.  Every time I turn around they are playing school or house or barbies.  But there are some fun things  I have started or am hoping to start with them this summer too!   They are growing so quickly and I really want to enjoy them and teach and guide them as much as I can!  So here's what is happening this summer in this all girl household:

1.  Fabric paper dolls.  This has been the biggest hit for all ages (3,6,9).   I have a huge bag of old clothes that they can cut up into fabric scraps.  I then print off black and white copies of free printable paper dolls (available all over the internet).  The girls spend at least an hour cutting up fabrics and creating different outfits for there girls.  When they create that perfect outfit (and accessories) they glue it on and we hang them up.     When friends come over, this has been very popular too!

2.  Read alouds.   There are many benefits to reading aloud to your children and not just when they are young.  My 2 oldest daughters can read, but when I grab a classic and we all huddle together and I read aloud to them, there is something magical as well as educational.    Currently our read aloud is, The little house in the big woods.  I love the this time!

3.  Summer Binders.  I opted to cretate my own summer program this summer than to choose a workbook to keep the girls current with their math, writing and reading.  Each girl has a binder.  In that binder is a pencil and dry erase marker.  I then filled each binder with plastic page covers.  In the plastic page covers I put specific skill worksheets for each child.  For example, my 6 year old daughter's binder has worksheets on addition and subtraction facts, handwriting practice, phonics worksheets, bible verses, some fun mazes and printouts.  Everything can be filled in using the dry erase marker and then wiped off and used again.  I also have a blank page for tic tac toe or hangman!   They do these everyday, usually they do them when they are bored and I don't have to remind them!   They can easily be taken in the car and on vacation as well!

4. Our own library.   We have reading time, where the big girls read on their own and I read to my 3 year old.  I make sure we have tons of books constantly available to them.  We have bookshelves filled with approriate reading levels all around the house and compfy chairs that invite you to sit and read and enjoy books.  I love to create our own library and Goodwill has been amazing at helping grow our library. 

5.  Creating plays.  The girls have been creating plays and then performing them for me.  I remember doing this when I was young.   I just love sitting on the couch and watching them perform.  Sometimes we record them on the i pod or someone will be the director and record.

6.  For my oldest.  My oldest is 9 and I can see that this year she needs more planned activities than previous years.  I make sure we play with friends about 3 times a week and we have found some special things that she enjoys.  She has a journal that she keeps with her throughout the day and writes about things she does, feels, sees, thinks, etc. She is really enjoying this right now.  And she really likes making her own friendship bracelets with embroidering floss.  This is a fantastic boredom buster and creative outlet.   And she is thinking of others and making them for others.  

7.  Family serving project.   I am really trying to think how we can serve Chirst as a family and teach my kids now that showing love to anyone in need is a mission trip.  I would love to go over seas and help and serve, but a mission trip can happen anywhere we show Christ's love to someone in need and I know there are people in need all around us. 

8.  Playdates.   Playing with our friends and spending time enjoying our days with friends is what makes summer special for my girls so I plan playdates a few times a week.  Usually, the parks, the beaches, summer movies, skating, or just playing at each other houses.  Since I have all girls, sleepovers are a big request here!  

Between all of the above fun and excitement we will also have a 2 week vacation to New York and a couple of VBS.  Summer sure does go fast, but it so sweet! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Count your Blessings

How different the world looks when you look through grateful eyes.  Eyes that see all the beauty that is around us at any given  time.   With well trained, grateful eyes, I bet one could find beauty and blessings  anywhere and everywhere.   I am training my eyes everyday as I try and name all the beauty and blessings around me that I normally don't see.  The amazing blessing that comes with seeing the beauty around us is that you can't help BUT see beauty everywhere.  The more you do it the more you can't help yourself. 

Every Monday, Ann at  counts her blessings.  I continue to follow her and find joy in this world by finding and naming the beauty around me.  As a mom of three girls, 3,6,9, I am teaching them  how to find the beauty everyday, everywhere and count their blessings.  I love to sing my girls to sleep by singing them the song, Count Your Blessings.  My favorite version is from Bing Crosby in White Christmas.  Enjoy and I hope you fall asleep tonight, counting your blessings!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Enjoy the gifts in your life

A long weekend with my favorite people in the world, my family. Just being together, laughing, playing, snuggling, loving, enjoying. This is what I call enjoying life. Turn the tv off and enjoy each other. We were given such gifts in each other and we need to discover and enjoy our families. As a mother, I pray to guide this family to be close and encouraging, to be a place of safety and hopefullness, a place to learn to enjoy and live abundantly. May you have wonderful weekend with the gifts in your life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the wall

My wonderful  husband found this huge mirror at a garage sale.  He was able to get it for only $5!  I was so impressed with this find that I have actually had it hanging on my wall before I pained it.   However, it has been begging to be pained and here it is!

I love paint! It's amazing what you can do with a little work and a little paint.  My three girls have been watching me paint and transform old furniture and frames into new (to us) and beautiful pieces to our home!  I love that they are learning that they can transform anything and have fun creating something new , while saving money!  Here's the finished product!

I love it!
linking up with
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wait out the storm

My daughter needed seashells for a project at school and we had waited until the last minute to get to the beach.   Unfortunately, the Florida summer storms decided to start that day.  Storms usually don't last all day here, I was certain they  would move on later in the day, but as later in the day came, the storms were still there.  Finally, the five us got in the car (still raining), drove to the beach (still raining), parked at the beach and watched the waves crash on the shore (still raining), ran in the rain to the beach ice cream shop (still raining), sat in the ice cream shop and giggled at our soaking selves and at ice cream (rain got lighter).

We decided we could handle the light rain that now fell and we walked down to the shore.   The sand was packed tightly from the rain and no one was on the beach.  We started collecting our shells with our bare feet digging into the wet sand and before we knew it, the early evening sunset was beautifully brilliant right in front of us.  The clouds had slowly and slyly moved on and been replaced with the most amazing sunset God could of painted.  I looked up and infront of me was the surprise from the storm, a rainbow.    A reminder that the storms don't last forever.   The rain will pour down and turn into the biggest storm, but eventually, the storm stops, the rain lets up, and the surpise rainbow appears before you.  Wait out your storms and look for the rainbows.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easy Peasy Chicka Chicka Felt Board

I just love this project. I made this for my preschool class when we introduced the alphabet in the beginning of the year.  Hands on learning is not only fun but effective so this easy, peasy craft will have your preschooler wanting to read along with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom , practice letter recoognition and other fun phonemic awareness games that you can think of with this fun, felt board! 

Here's all you and need and what to do!
1.  Buy or recyle a canvas or thick cardboard piece at least the size of a sheet of paper or larger.

2.  Cover the canvas with coordinating or similiar fabric as the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom cover.

3. Using free hand I drew the tree trunk on brown felt and drew each palm branch and extra grass on the green felt.  I then cut the pieces out and hot glued them on to the canvas.

4.  Lastly, I found letter stickers I already had in my crafting kit and covered them in contact paper and cut them out.  Stick a piece of velcro on to the back of each one so they can stick to the coconut tree.

5.  Let your child stick on the letters as you read!  You could also lay the letters out flat and work on phonemic awareness skills with your preschooler.  Phonemic awareness skills are the most important skill we can give to our preschooler before they enter school and need to be in place for before reading can occur.   As the letters are infront of your preschooler, make a letter sound and have your preschooler add the correct letter to the tree.     Another variation as your preschooler becomes more proficient is to say, "add the letter that makes the sound that begins the word cat" or " what letter makes the sound that ends the word man".   There are so many hands on learning activities to do with this easy, peasy Chicka Chicka Felt Board!  Enjoy!

linking up with
A Crafty Soiree

Monday, April 25, 2011

humble pie

  Your life is someones dream.  Thats right, the life you have now, the boring, mundane life that you struggle to keep up with is someone elses dream.  Perspective is so important and I find that I often need a refresher about the amazing life I have here on earth.  Instead of constantly giving thanks for everything, I can if I let it, grow tiresome and feel burdesome with all the demands of my blessed life.  I feel quite guilty and ashamed of my poor perspctive when it grows this way, but often it leads to repetance, humility, grace and thankfulness and a fresh perspective.

To live fully and beautifully in my current life and situations I have to know and trust that I am right where I need to be and that I am blessed to be going through and doing whatever it is I am doing at this season of my life.   It is when I feel to important, to big for the role that I am currently in that the storms of ungratefullness surface.   Humility  grows continual thanfulness and sometimes a slice of humble pie is exactly what I need.  Lord, may I grow and learn and be thankful always and when I loose perspective in this world, may I know where to find grace and grow in humility and thankfulness.

As part of my continual gratitude, I continue to count my blessings:
-amazing family to share Easter with
-beautiful mom who shines with joy and hope
-a run with my 6 year old
-watching my dad be a role model to the men in our family
-creative thoughts that keep me excited to create
-spring break with my girls
-tennis with my husband
-finding joy in the everyday
-seeing grace in shattered lives
-keeping track of blessings to remind me of the beauty of the everyday and every life