Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award!

Yippee!  I was so surprised and honored to receive the Versatile Blogger Award from Katie at Playing with Words 365!

It was so kind of Katie to pass me this award!  If you haven't checked out Playing with Words 365 yet, you should definitely stop by!  Besides for giving out great language learning tips (Katie's a speech pathologist), she also shares her free printable materials and has a fun link-up party every week (Thrifty Thursday)!

Now on to the blog award rules... 

1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link back to them. (Thanks Katie!!)

2. Tell 7 things about yourself. (see below)

3. Pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know that they’ve received an award!  (This was so difficult since I've recently found so many fabulous ones out there!)

Seven Things About Myself
  1. In the summer my favorite treat is soft serve vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles on top.
  2. By the time I was in 1st grade I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. 
  3. I'm terrified of spiders.
  4. I was a morning person...until blogging turned me into a night owl! 
  5. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. 
  6. I never forget a face...names that's another story.
  7. I've kept a journal on and off since I was 10 years old.

15 blogs I have found recently that I think ROCK (in no particular order)

Happy New Year!!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Palooza

Our three day Christmas Palooza has come to an end!  In three days, we managed to celebrate Christmas five times!  That's a lot of presents, a lot of Christmas cookies a lot of fun family time!  Our house is in need of some serious picking-up, organizing and cleaning.  Not to mention I would love to have our normal routines back!  I'm caught up on all my Christmas blog posts, but I'm not quite ready to say good-bye to all those cute kid's Christmas crafts and projects.  I have a couple New Year's Eve activities I'd like to do with my preschooler and then it's on to a winter wonderland theme!  Let's just hope I can muster up a little more energy than our bulldog! 


Monday, December 26, 2011

Gingerbread House in the Making

Day One: Baking 

I made patterns out of wax paper for the sides and roof of the house.  Then my tot and I mixed up the gingerbread dough while my preschooler was busy at school.  I later rolled out the dough and used a knife and the wax paper patterns to cut the gingerbread dough into the correct size and shape.  Then I baked the house pieces and let them cool overnight. 

Day Two: Construction

I assembled the house while my preschooler sprinkled snow and laid out a walkway.  We did this part of our gingerbread house at night, so my hubby had the very important job of keeping my tot entertained and way from all the candy! 

Day Three: Decorating!!  

My preschooler started off extremely enthusiastic about decorating.  At first she even tried to make patterns with the colored candies on the roof.  But after a few minutes we found that working together to decorate was a lot less tiring and whole lot more fun! 

This was the third year our family made a gingerbread house.  It has quickly become one of my favorite holiday traditions!

The gingerbread dough recipe, house pattern and royal icing recipe I used can all be found at Just


Friday, December 23, 2011

The Liebster Blogger Award!

Yesterday I was so honored to find out that I was awarded the Liebster Blogger Award!

 Brenna from Life as this Mommy Knows It was kind enough to pass me this award.  Brenna's blog is amazing!  She has several different link-up parties during the week and offers great photography tips! 

The rules of this award are as follows:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who nominated you by linking back to their blog. (Thanks Brenna!)
2. Nominate five other happy little blogs (200 followers or less) by posting a comment on their blogs.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Check out what the other up-and-coming blogs have to offer.

And this award now goes to...

Merry Christmas!   


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments

Every year, my preschooler makes Christmas gifts for family members.  Usually she picks out a Christmas craft at JoAnn's to put together or paint, but this year I guess we went shopping a little too late...all the Christmas crafts were gone!  So I decided to whip-up a batch of salt dough ornaments instead.

I wanted to be sure to include both my tot and preschooler in this year's Christmas gift.  So my tot helped me mix up the dough and my preschooler did the decorating.  I have to credit Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas with this recipe.  It worked perfect!  The only change I made was adding several drops of green food color to the recipe.  I've included a quick version of this recipe below, but if you're looking for excellent step-by-step directions check out Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Salt Dough Recipe
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Warm Water
Food Coloring (Optional)

Mix dry ingredients
Add water to dry ingredients and mix
Add food coloring
Knead until elastic
Roll out dough and use cookie cutters
Poke a hole at the top of each ornament (straw works great)
Bake at 250 degrees for 4 hours

Now we just need to add some string and wrap them up!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Stuff a Stocking Math Game (Freebie)

Pin It
 Here is a fast paced Christmas math game I created for my preschooler!  

Click the image below to grab a copy or click here

Graphics by Scrappin Doodles

Each player takes a board and 20 counters (we used Hershey Kisses).
Start with all the counters off the board.
Players take turns rolling a die and covering up a certain number of spaces according to the number rolled on the die.
The first player to completely stuff their stocking (fill all their spaces on their board) wins! 

Alternative Directions
Instead of using a die, we also played this game with a penny.  Heads cover up two spaces.  Tails cover up 1 space. 

Educational Connections
Counting numbers 1-20
Comparing numbers

Merry Christmas!

Linking to:
Thrifty Thursday Classified: Mom abc button  Teach Me Tuesday at Whole Child Creative Curriculum

Gingerbread Playdough

In preparation for cookie decorating and gingerbread house decorating this week, my tot and preschooler spent some time over the weekend creating gingerbread people with playdough!

Our Thanksgiving playdough was still fresh, so all I did was add a dash of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger to spice it up a bit.  Then I grabbed a container of beads and buttons along with some googly eyes and a gingerbread cookie cutter.  Then my kids went to work!  


Friday, December 16, 2011

M&M Game: Decorate a Christmas Tree (Freebie)

Pin It
Here's a fun, educational and yummy Christmas game I created for my preschooler! 

This game was inspired by a fall M&M game I found on Making Learning Fun.  My preschooler couldn't get enough of that game, so I knew I needed to make a Christmas version!

This game is super simple to prepare.  All you need are 20 M&Ms per player and a copy of the printable materials below.  Print the boards and M&M cards on card stock (laminate for future use).  Then cut the cards, shuffle and play! 

  Click the image below to grab a copy of the boards and cards or click here

Each player takes a board and 20 M&Ms.  Then players sort their M&Ms by color onto the sorting boxes on their board.  
Shuffle the cards and leave them face down.  
Players take turns drawing a card and "decorating" their tree according to the color and number of M&Ms on the card drawn.   
The first player to completely decorate their tree wins! 

Alternative Directions
Undecorate the tree!  Start with all the M&Ms on the tree and be the first player to get all their M&Ms back in the sorting boxes!  

Educational Connections
Counting numbers 1-20
Comparing quantities 
Sorting by color
Reading color words

Happy Tree Trimming!

Linking to:Math Box, Life is About, No Time for Flashcards, Fun Stuff Friday, I Can Teach My Child, Sunday Showcase, TGIF, Thrifty Thursday


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Pattern Mats (Freebie!)

Here are two Christmas pattern mats I created for my preschooler.  She used unifix cubes to finish the patterns, but you could use any small colored counters (foam squares, craft pom-poms, etc.) or laminate and use dry erase makers to color in! 

Click the image to grab a copy or click here

Linking to: Little Mathematicians, TGIF, Thrifty Thursday

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ripped Paper Christmas Wreath

 This wreath was the perfect craft for my preschooler and took very little time to prepare!

I tried to include my tot, but he wasn't interested, which surprised me since he really enjoyed making ripped paper Indian corn last month.  But this time he was happy sitting alongside my preschool coloring in a coloring book instead!

Paper Plate
Construction Paper (red, green, yellow)
Glue/Glue Stick

Cut out the center of the paper plate (only the outside is needed)
Rip the green construction paper into small pieces (my preschooler loved helping with this)
Cut out holly berries and candle

Squeeze glue around the outside of the plate
Place ripped paper onto of the glue
Glue on berries and candle  (my preschooler found using a glue stick worked best for this)

Math Connection
I had my preschooler count out the holly berries and glue in groups of three.  Then she counted the total number of berries when she finished.  If she was a little older I would have tied in more math by using repeated addition or multiplication to find the total number of berries. 

Linking-up:For the Love of Cupcakes, Sunday Showcase, Christmas Traditions, TGIF, Thrifty Thursday, Show and Tell

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Measure a Christmas Tree


This Christmas tree project is a combination of two ideas I recently came across.  On Pinterest I saw an idea for making a Christmas tree, using strips of paper put in order by size.  Then I noticed on several Montessori blogs, that young children are encouraged to use rulers at an early age.   I combined both of these simple ideas into one fun Christmas project for my preschooler, that incorporates the concepts of ordering something from largest to smallest, using a standard measuring tool and counting numbers 1-10.  

Construction Paper (Brown, Red and Green)
Glue Stick

Cut the green construction paper into strips.  I cut mine into 10 stripes...the largest strip was 10 inches by 1 1/2 inches, then I decreased the length of every strip by one inch. 

First my preschooler put the strips of paper in order from largest to smallest.

 Then she glued the strips onto the red construction paper. 

Next I modeled how to use a ruler, lining up the edge of the paper to zero.  After watching a couple times, my preschooler caught on and was able to measure the strips on her own.  

After figuring out how many inches long the strip was, she put that number of stickers on the strip of paper.  9 inches = 9 stickers.  She continued to measure and sticker each strip of paper.   

My preschooler really enjoyed using the ruler for this activity.  Though she had played with tape measures and rulers many times, this was the first time she used a ruler independently as a tool. 

Oh...I didn't want to leave my tot I cut out this simple triangle Christmas tree for him to glue and decorate too!

Linking up to:Little Mathematicians, TGIF, Thrifty Thursday, Show and TellTeach me Tuesday and Montessori Monday

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