How to Bind your Notebooks…

This week I made a big purchase.

There has been something on my homeschool “wishlist” for quite some time.

I’ve spent the last year rationalizing away the cost.

Quietly planning all the different projects that I would use it for.

Promising myself that I would get my monies worth.

Do you know what it is yet?

It’s a binding machine!

It does things to my e-books that a stapler NEVER could.

(Oh sweet notebooking heaven)

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get one!

So wondering how it works?

Here’s the deal:

Step 1: Print up your e-book.

Make sure to use cardstock for a cover page, and a back page.
(note: you can get special coverpages at the store if you want)

Step 2: Load your weapon:

This means you put your curly binding comb between the prongs,
pull the special lever to open it

Step 3: Poke all your holes:

For my machine that means entering the paper like so

And pulling down the big handle.

Crunch.

All the papers are stored in a drawer inside the machine. No mess.
(note: my particular machine can handle up to 10 sheets at a time)

Step 4: Start assembling your book.
Slide your freshly punched papers onto the open prongs of your binding comb.
(the black curly thing you opened in step 2)

Step 5: Continue until you have all the pages you want included.

Step 6: Release side lever and the binding comb closes back up.

Step 7: Enjoy your fancy looking notebook!


If your interested here is the machine that I purchased.
It’s called Fellowes Star Manual Comb Binding Machine
I also picked up some different sized combs:

Fellowes Plastic Comb Bindings
Note: Combs come in different capacity…
Some do up to 55 pages, some up to 150 pages.
You want to get a variety, but I use the 55page and 90pages the most!

Pssst: Like my garden notebook?
STAY TUNED!!

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Fish, Flowers,Frogs….and a Flashback!


Did you know that I started blogging/websites when
my daughter was a preschooler?

In fact, my first website was dedicated to this age:
(ChristianPreschoolPrintables)

Psssst….Wanna see what CPP looked like when I first
started out in 2006? Pretty Rockin’ eh?

Ha!

Now it’s 2011 and my Sissy is entering 3rd grade.
My Bubba is entering 1st grade.
And my Monkey is teetering on Tot-Preschool Age.

It FEELS like
It’s been so LONG since I’ve had a Preschooler.
And now my little Monkey is almost there.
Almost.

Currently, Monkey is 2 years old and able to sit still
for about 4 1/2 minutes. A Day.

I know you think I’m exaggerating.

But, I love when people ASK ME what I do with Monkey
while I’m teaching the older children.
I really try not to burst out laughing.
If you only knew….

You see, usually when someone is asking that questions, what they
really want to know is:

WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS CRAZY MONKEY
WHEN I NEED TO TEACH _________.
(Fill in the blank with something that is hard to teach
when a buck naked, curly haired little primate is running circles
around your ankles, begging for “sippy” and “juice” and “cake” and “frogs”
and anything else that you don’t have in your pocket)

Cause somedays that’s really what it’s like.
Not all. But some.

(most days I really have to recall the words written in this book)

But, during the times in which my little Monkey wants
to quietly sit at the table for 4 1/2 mintues,
I want to have something fun and educational for him to do.

So tonight I made him some simple matching games,
with colorful REAL photographs that a little Monkey
can appreciate.

One with Frogs:

One with Flowers:

One with Fish:

Then (with all those F’s) I got to thinking that
I could make this into something a bit more FUN!
Something for my older kiddos to play:

A game for them to play in the wee hours of the morning

Perhaps long enough for a certain someone to sleep in
an extra hour or two.

So this is how I left the kitchen table:

I’m pretty sure my plan is going to work.
(I mean…What kid wants to go smell Mom’s morning breath
when they have a game like this to play?)

Seriously children.
The cereal is in the bottom cupboard for a reason.

Psssst…. Wanna sleep in like me?
Download Fish, Flowers and Frogs on our sister site here!

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Making Paper Pulp


bible crafts

This week we made some Paper Pulp to use for an
upcoming bible lesson on Preschool Post.

While I’ve made handmade paper before, this is my first time simply using the clumpy pulp to make different shapes of very thick paper.

paper pulp

It took a while to dry, and because you don’t “flatten” it with anything,
the surface remains bumpy and textured.

paperpulp

Which is kinda cool.

This is a fantastic way for young children to take part in paper making crafts.

I put up a tutorial for how to make paper pulp on the main site,

And I’m just putting the finishing touches on the rest of our “Be Responsible” bible lesson so stay tuned for that!

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Dry Erase Crayons: A Review

Where to Buy

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Toddler Curriculum Package from Timberdoodle!



As part of Timberdoodles blogger review team
I have an awesome product review to share with you today!

Wedgits!

When Timberdoodle asked our family to participate in a review of their
Toddler Curriculum Package, I jumped at the opportunity!
(If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time,
you know that I LOVE educational toys and games)

It’s an addiction passion of mine.

And Wedgits have been on my wishlist for a long time!

When the tote arrived on our doorstep,
I could hardly keep my children away from it long enough to snap this photo:

If you look close enough you might be able to see the reflections
of their little vulture faces hovering in the plastic.
(Imagine them pacing semi-circles behind me as I struggle to take a decent picture)

It’s hard to see everything in the tote
So, here’s more details on what’s included

And here’s how it all works:

Leveled game cards are included, which show a picture of object to be created.
On the back of each card there are the specific building materials needed (i.e. 2 red, 1 green)

Once you gather your shapes, you start to build your creation on top of the green board:

Making sure as you go that your model represents the same shape in the picture:

The shapes can get pretty hard…and when you finish all the cards
(which we haven’t even come close yet)
you can check out even more difficult shapes in the provided booklets:

Wowza!

So do you have these?
I’ve seen them everywhere, and I must say
I thought they were for much older children…like say 10.
But each of my children 8, 5, & 2 were able to use them!

Sissy (8) and Bubba (5) made the more complicated structures:

Monkey (2) spent over an hour arranging and rearranging
these different pieces together.
And while he is still a bit young to be building the exact models on the cards,
he had a great experience just learning how to build with these unique shapes.

I took lots of photos of his adorable Tot hands so you could see
the progression of how he learned to manipulate the pieces:


Hmmm….Now, how did they do that?

Maybe this way……almost there…

Hmmmm….Let’s think about this for a minute….

Success! Yea for Monkey…High Five!

Wedgits were a bit hit at our house, they would be perfect for family game night,
and I love that my Toddler is gaining important motor skills…and confidence!

So what else is included in Timberdoodle’s Toddler Curriculum Package?

Upper Case Lauri A-Z Puzzles
Lower Case Lauri A-Z Puzzles
Rubbabu 3D Shape Sorter Animal Puzzle
Buddy Blocks Puzzle
Fantacolor
Wedgits 20-Piece Tote
Bambino Starter Set
Bambino Special
Earlyears Lace A Shape
3D Feel and Find
Colorback Sea Turtle Maze
I Can Cut Toddler
I Can Paste Toddler
I Can Trace Toddler
I Can Color Toddler
McDonald’s Farm Counting Book
Primary Science Set by Learning Resources
First Hundred Words in English
My First Animal Signs book
Big Book of Things to Spot
The Music Box
Primary Science Set by Learning Resources
Peek-A-Boo Animal Puzzles
Big Oball
Entertaining and Educating Babies and Toddlers
Active Baby, Healthy Brain
Check out Timberdoodle’s Planning Folder for product details

You can also check out all the other “Because Mom Said
reviews to learn more details about each product!

Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

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Summer Reading Chart

I’m pretty sure it’s still Spring,
but this afternoon I whipped up these
Summer Reading Charts:

And before you start to accuse me of creating charts,
just for the sake of laminating them,
I’ll have you know that we take Summer Reading very….
VERY...seriously around here.
Not to mention that for the past two years
I have somehow misplaced my children’s charts…
Last year because we moved,
and the year before that because I had a baby

So Don’t Judge me. ;)

I already got a very STERN look from the librarian when I pleeded with her to take my word that the children did in fact complete their Summer Reading, even writing down all the Titles and Authors…..and that it was my fault completely and would she please let them choose a book to take home. Please….look at their little sad faces, they practically went blind with all the Summer Reading they did.

So as not repeat that this year, I decided I was going to get a bit more organized and actually make a chart that could be hung on the wall. My children’s wall. Making them responsible for keeping track of them. (You see where this is going right)

Ahem.

Anyway, after all that work,
making all those little boxes,
and adding in those adorable graphics
I of course decided that such a chart would last longer
If it was in fact laminated.

See. Win-Win.

Everyones Happy.

Go print your Chart and be Happy too!

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I Finally Did it!

I bought a laminator.

I bet you thought I had one.

But, nope!

After many strolls down the paper product aisle at Target,
I finally gave it and bought one.

(The one I got is called the Scotch Thermal Laminator)

And even though I’ve been walking by this laminator for months,
(quietly adding up all the handy things I could use it for)
It was still a total splurge.

I’ve been using a more “Frugal” way to laminate things,
Sandwiching my paper between two layers
of clear contact paper…
the type you line your kitchen drawers with!

And really?
Have you ever tried that?
It is more difficult then it sounds.
Sticky. Time Consuming. Finger Pain.

Now all I have to do is
1.Open a pouch
2. Insert paper
3.Run through the machine
4. Sit back and sip my fake Starbucks frappuccino:

Wow!

Wanna know the first thing I laminated?

(This is a must have for any fridge!)
Thanks Erica for helping us to keep the peace around here!
Oh and, yeah… GO DUCKS!. (Ahem)

And the second thing I laminated?

A Protractor.

Yeah, a Protractor.
Usable, sturdy and NO extra trip to Target required.

And now of course I’m scouring the house just looking for things that need to be laminated.

Help me out here….
What sorts of things do you use your laminator for?

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Place Value Folder Game

This week, in addition to multiplication, we’ve been
really working hard on learning and understanding Place Value.
A few years back I picked up a set of Base Ten Blocks,
which really made it easy for my children to visualize
what I was talking about with all this “Hundred, Tens, Ones” talk.

base ten blocks

But it’s due time to to branch out to bigger numbers…
Thousands, Ten Thousands….maybe even Millions!

So today I whipped up this simple (no frills)
Place Value File Folder Game:

We played it this afternoon for Math,
and I’m quite pleased with the results!
Both children are easily reading numbers all the
way out to millions!

I’m surprised at how quickly they picked up on it!
The game is played by drawing numbers one at a time
and choosing where to place it on your board. You’re trying
to build the biggest number you can, so you have to be careful
as once you play a number you can’t move it.

I had my children read the “Place” they were putting each number, then at the end of the game they read their entire number to see who was the winner.

An hour later and they are experts in place value and didn’t
even realize they were learning.
(or gambling….for that ever evasive 9)

How do I feel about it all?

MuuuuAhhhhhhHaHa!
(said in an “I will rule the world” kind of tone)

I uploaded this game on File Folder Fun so
you too can feel this way!

Happy Ruling!

NOTE: If you like “everyone wins” games, just print one board and work together as a team, write down each number you make and try to beat the last one!

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Multiplication Pocket Folder

We are all about Multiplication Facts around here lately
(Did you see our Math Keys)
(And our File Folder Games)

Well, I’m pulling out all the stops trying to get these important facts into my children’s heads.
Sometimes adding a bit of color….and incentive….helps!
So today I made the children a Multiplication Pocket Folder:

It’s really just a fancy way to store our multiplication flash cards
(we’re upgrading from ziploc baggies)

But the important part is the Multiplication chart on the front:

Everytime Sissy can get through a set of math facts she’ll get a sticker.
Ten stickers equals a small treat.
Each day she can earn up to 12 stickers
One for each digit….and no more.
(Ahhh……now you see my genius)

And if you want to make your own,
I’ve uploaded instructions, templates and printables for you too!

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NEW! Family Math, Art, Geography, & Science Curriculum…..


boy

Recently my 4 year old son (Bubba) has been showing interest and readiness to learn at a higher level then I’ve been presenting to him. I’m really excited to see the changes over the past few months:

He will sit for extended periods of time
He can hold a pencil the correct way most of the time without help
He knows his letters and the sounds they make
He is writing his name and other short words
He is beginning to recognize common words (Thanks Starfall!)
He is showing an interest in having “HIS OWN” school books (instead of sharing with Sissy)

I’m really excited because he has been such an “Energetic” little scout, and it’s been really hard to even attempt to lead any type of learning experience that required “FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS”

SIGH.

But I see that we are coming around the bend, and my little Preschooler just might be ready for some more one-on-one instructional learning.

Thus, I’ve been spending the past couple of weeks RE-Arranging my LIFE Homeschool schedule to fit him in a bit more, and of course researching curriculum choices that I could use for both children. I haven’t got it all just perfect yet (do we ever) but here are a couple of new additions to our Homeschool Curriculum that I wanted to share:

Science

The Complete Book of Science:

I love this book not only because it is in full color (total score for entertainment factor) but it has 12 different sections that provide hands on learning alongside worksheets and reproducible charts and diagrams. One of the first topics we started with this book was “Our Human Body” and we made these life size representations of our organs, bones, and muscles. You can imagine that both kiddos were giggly excited to do this. (Now, we’re learning about Rocks and Minerals) You can read sample pages here….

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FamilyMath

Family Math:

I saw this book at a thrift store (after I read that a friend picked it up at a thrift store) and decided to give it a shot. I mean $2 is worth a shot right? Totally worth it. I love this book already, it has transformed Math time at our house in a matter of days. Both of my kids love the hands on activities, and they love learning alongside eachother when an activity fits both their ability levels. The best part about this book is that it tells you very clearly, what ages each activity is for, and then it has pictures and additional ideas for how to explore the concepts with each child. Here is Bubba playing one of the sorting and counting games:

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TeachingArt

Teaching Children ART:

Okay, I know…we don’t really need books to teach children art do we? Aside from subscribing to Art Projects for Kids, I’ve been using this book to make sure that the kiddos recieve some sort of formal traning on Art (you know like color theory and all that technical stuff) So far we’ve done a couple of lessons as a family, and both children have been very interested. Here are some photos of them learning about line (horizontal, vertical, and diagonal)

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Little Passports

And for Geography…..Did you see? I won the 6 month Subscription to Little Passports, and should be receiving some fantastic learning materials soon! I can’t wait, so stay tuned for photos of those!

I’ve added all of our new books and resources to our Homeschool Curriculum page, in case you’re interested in what we’re using for the other topics too!

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Homeschool Tools: Texture Squares

I’ve started a new tab on our main site called Homeschool Tools!

I hope to be able to post some of the different tools we use in our homeschool, nothing to fancy but maybe it will inspire you to get crafty in your own classroom!

Last week I posted the Base 10 Bean Counters,
and this week I’m showing off these colorful Texture Squares:

texture squares

I’ve been saving every little bit and scrap from all my sewing projects in hopes of making something like this for a long time. (hence the large pile of fabric…I might have overdone it a bit..)

Not all the fabrics have a defining texture, some I chose because of the color patterns, but it makes a great matching game, especially one to store in your purse for the long wait times at the Doctor’s office.

(Did I mention we’re on Ear Infection number 7 for the year? Same kid, same ear….what gives?)

Anyway, I put up more photos with instructions, including the sizes that I used on our main site.

I’d love to see any homemade matching games you’ve made with your children! Drop me a link below if you’ve done a similar project!

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