Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lock and Lock Containers and an Organized Plastics Drawer!!!

Yes, I can say it, I HATE my "Tupperware" cabinet.  It is the cabinet that everything gets thrown into and tumbles out as soon as I open the door! I avoid it!!!   I clean it, and it is messy less than a month later!  Containers that don't stack and don't even start me on lids!!!  My pet peeve...I can NEVER find the lid for the plastic storage bowel that I am wanting to use!  UGH!!!!
I found the perfect solution!  LOCK AND LOCK!!!  I'm telling you.....won-der-ful!!!
Okay, bravely, I will post a before picture.  In my defense of this MESS...I have three boys and a husband that has no idea HOW to put anything away correctly!  (and totally ALL their fault, right!!!  ;)  )  Okay, ready??   
Yes, it is a mess, pure and simple!! I can not believe I am posting these pictures!!!!  The HORROR!!!!!
Part of my organization problem is that this is the cabinet that I store my mixer in....but it ends up holding other crap on top of it and beside it and around it. 

Yes, this is all that crap out on the floor!  I can expect that LOTS of those pieces do not have matching lids.  There has to be a better way. 

There is!!!!  These are my new Lock and Lock containers.  I got mine at QVC....I love QVC!  These containers are wonderful!

This is one set, it has three different sizes, two in each size.  The best part- all the lids match ALL the containers!  No more searching for a lid!  All the lids fit no matter which size I use!  LOVE this!!!  
The containers come in several colors.  I went with fun and bright!  Who doesn't like pink anyways!!!!

Same lid on the smallest size!

As pretty as the containers were all matchy matchy- it is more practical for me to store them per size.  I can easily grab out the size I need.  They stack nicely for easy storage!  The best thing is that these containers are rectangle.  Why are rectangle containers so good? 
They stack well, they store amazingly!  There is no wasted space with the rectangle designs.  Image a large dinner with lots of left overs.  Now you have to put those containers in your fridge.  Round bowels waste space especially is you have a side by side fridge!  The rectangle containers and be place side by side and don't waste any space!  
Now I have NO problems showing the AFTER photo!!  How pretty!  I love these containers!!
I am still storing my mixer in the cabinet but I have a lot more room!!!  I didn't throw out my round containers- I am saving them to repurpose them!  With the boys homeschooling, I know we can find uses for them!!! 

I kept two of my biggest round containers- they are storing my little stuff in the drawer- these are all my school lunch making stuff, easily contained and easy to find.  The biggest round container is holding the lids for my Lock and Lock containers.  Just in case I need a BIG BIG BIG container.  I still have one and I store its lid right underneath it. 
I don't have any affiliation with Lock and Lock or QVC but I do LOVE them both!!!  Are you looking to organize your plastics drawer?  Head over to QVC!!!!  Also- Lock and Lock carries rectangle pitchers.  I love these too!  I can fit three of the biggest size in my side by side and milk, and juice and another beverage.  I could NEVER fit three round containers of tea in my fridge at one time! 
Hope this helps!!
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Dollar Store Homeschooling Finds! Great for the budget!

A trip to the dollar store doesn't get most people excited, but if it does, they maybe a homeschooler!!!!  Thinking outside the box really helps! 
What is the craziest thing you can find in my stash??   I have an educational purpose for everything on the table!!!  
My first find was the alphabet foam puzzles.  My kids are well over this age where this would be anything but boring for them, at age 7 an 9, they both know their alphabets well and normally do much more complicated puzzles than these.  (They love the Montessori map puzzles- I might need to find a supplier for them!) So why did I buy them???
When punched out from their puzzle part, they are PERFECT foam letters for building words!  I strongly believe in touching and feeling the work kids do- they learn better.  Montessori learning at its best!!!  Best of all, the letters have a pattern that you can see on the front of the letters so the child knows which side is the correct side.  This really help my dyslexic son.  No more flipped or backwards letters!
How are ice trays educational?  You can use them for sorting, practicing fine motor skills.  We are going to use ours to make mud bricks so we can build a pyramid for our Ancient Egypt studies!  No worries about ruining them, two for a dollar was a deal.  And we can wash them out an use them for another use again!!
Perfect sentence strips for grammar work!  

Now the barbies might need more of an explanation!  No my two boys don't play with barbies, although they were very pleased to pick theirs out. I might be worried IF I hadn't already told them how they were going to use them.  Now what are we doing with barbies?  We are going to mummify them for our ancient Egypt study!!!  They are so excited to make mummies!!!  

The measuring spoon and cups are for science experiments.  Now I won't complain they are using my good baking ones!  The letter cards are wonderful and I didn't even realize how great they were until I got them out of the packages.  They are raised slightly and glittered, and rough.  Sand paper letters!!!  Google Montessori sand paper letters!  We will also use these to build words and alphabetize our works!

These letter were great too!  I thought they were magnetic but they aren't, no problems.  We will still use them as letter and numbers.  We will be making math sentences as both boys are working towards becoming mathematicians.  

Now you might think how many letter manipulatives do we need?  As many as we can find!  Why?  My kids love the different textures.  They can do the same work- building words- and the work "feels" different because the letters are so different.  I will sort these into a craft box with 26 spaces so they can easily find the letters quickly to build words.
The flash cards were an easy buy as well.  We use flash cards a lot.  I try and keep at stack in my bag, I can pull them out while waiting in lines and do a quick run through or turn them into a game when we go out to dinner!

The containers will be helpful for works.  Make your workbooks more Montessori hands on, make a photocopy of the sheet and cut out the pieces for your child to match and sort.  Now your plain workbook is Montessori hands on work.  Same work, but it "feels" different!  Child fighting you to do their worksheet....try it!!!

We go through a lot of plastic bags for word sorts and other works. 

Tape measures turn measuring into math work fun!  My boys can play with tape measures for HOURS!!  They will be going on a math measuring treasure hunt soon!

This shows my $1 measuring cup....perfect for math and science!  Even better- they leave mom's allow AND they won't drop my glass one.

Foam letter stickers will be used as well.  So many ways! 

My boys are well past Sesame Street- boohoo....but these sandwich containers will be wonderfully for works.  Remember, different....they will be excited!

Overall, a great day and some great finds!  I'll be sure to come back and post our Ancient Egypt study!  Can't wait to see the boys mummy Barbies!
What is your most unusual homeschooling repurposing find or bargaining find???  Leave me a comment!
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Shaving Cream- A Homeschool Staple!

As some of you know, I am homeschooling my two youngest kids.  We come from a strong Montessori background. All of my kids started Montessori education at the age of three.  I believe in a hands on approach to learning, if you can see it and touch it, you will learn from it!  I always learned that way best and so do my children.
We practice math facts daily.  Even if it is a is always beneficial to spend 3-10 minutes a day on each kids' math facts. Both boys are reviewing different math facts based on their level.  We do math facts in many different ways to keep it new and fresh for the boys.  Flash cards, ipad apps, manipulatives, or even shaving cream!  Yes, shaving cream!!!  This is from our favorite Montessori teacher....Shaving Cream Math Facts!  So easy and the kids love it!  Spray some shaving cream on the table and it is time to get messy!!!  The best part of this is that both boys LOVE it, they want to do ALL their math facts because it is so much fun to play in shaving cream, and clean up is easy,  and the shaving cream even cleans the table nicely! Win-Win!!!  I wish learning was this fun when I was in school!!!
Shaving cream works for math facts, spelling words, phonic blends, and sight words.  And of course, anything else you can think of!
Owen being silly- but enjoying his math facts review with shaving cream

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Decorating your planner- Erin Condren's teacher's planner review Using Stamps and Washi tape!

Are you in love with your planner??? Do you use a planner?  With three kids and two companies, I have to stay organized!! I have to say that I use my iphone calendar for a lot of my meetings/appointments/ and kids activities.  When the recent iphone update came out, I foolishly updated my phone and the calendar changed.  I have to say, I HATE the updated version!!!  I looked long and hard for a new calendar app that I liked.  I did find Awesome Calendar that I like, that works close to how the old calendar worked before the update.  I was pretty happy. 
Recently, I decided to homeschool my two youngest- I needed a planner.  A teacher's planner for a lessons, tracking, and planning.  My friend, Jennifer at had told me about the Erin Condren planner that she got for Christmas.  I checked out the website, and low and behold...they carry the BEST teacher planners!!!  I was in organizing heaven!!  I ordered my planner right away!!!
Even the box that the planner came in is pretty!!!  
This is the design that I chose for my planner.  There are many colors and patterns to chose from on the website. That was part of the problem- so many pretty ones! I loved the brown with the chevron pattern on it.  Still bright and cheery but not to girly-girl!  Perfect!!!  

Every planner can be customized- I added our homeschool name and my two homeschoolers to the front of the planner!  This is the record of everything we do!!!  Our goals, resources, lists, my plan, results.....everything!
My planner came with a movable ruler.  One thing I really like about this planner is the metal spring coil binding- it is very durable.  
I ordered the pens for my planner as well.  I love the colors and that I can write in different inks for different things, or just to keep it looking pretty!  :)

This is the lesson part of the planner- where I record what we do each day for each child.  I used one page for each child with it divided into days.  I made an addition column on the side for reflections this week.  This could be fun activities, science projects, research projects or goals for next week!  I made the column using some of my washi tape.  Since we experienced snow in North Carolina this week- I had to use my snowflake washi tape!

As a scrapbooker and card maker- I was very excited for another reason to use my stamps!!!  Stamps are a GREAT tool to use in you planner!  They add a pop of fun and don't add any bulk to your planner!  Get those stamps out!!!!  
I have all kinds of washi tape....I loved the inspirational quotes washi- I had to add it to my planner for this week!

I think this summed up our goal for homeschooling best!
I love this teacher's planner for the lesson part but it also has a conventional calendar for me to use!  I started working on February right away!

Stamps, stamps, and more stamps!!  Throw some washi in too and I am a happy person!!!
Using more stamps!  I love the foxy stamp!!!
I used a number stamp set in my book as well!  

I even used stamps to decorate the bottom of my pages as well!  February is love month after all!!!

This is next week's lesson pages.  I used some very thin washi to divide my pages up!  

Since this is my lesson plan area and I really need room to write- I won't add any stamps until the end of the week to see what room I have left. Another idea is to use light inks so that my writing still shows on top of it!
This shows the backside to my ruler- it makes it easy to flip right to my spot. 
I am loving this planner.  If you don't need a teacher's planner, they carry regular planners as well that are just as wonderful!  The website has videos showing the inside of all the products they carry.  Be sure to click on the videos to see them in more detail!
If you are interested in ordering one of these planners, please use my link for me to get credit:
As always all Stampin' up items can be found at my online store at:
You can also click on any of the links before to see the product used:
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