Monday, August 26, 2013

Mrs. White's Want List

Buying school supplies every year is one of the most exciting times! I LOVE SCHOOL SUPPLIES! Am I the only parent who loves to take their child shopping? To buy cute, coordinating supplies? To put sweet little labels on things? I love it! And now that I have my home preschool set up for my boys, I am able to purchase supplies for us as well.

Mikayla started 1st grade this year. She goes to a local charter school and we miss her all day long! This year she has a new teacher to the school. The same thing happened last year and we LOVED her Kindergarten teacher. I have a feeling we are going to feel the same way about her teacher this year.

The school supply list this year was huge - as usual. At the bottom of the list, her teacher listed her want life. Now, we live a good life on one income but that doesn't mean we have a ton of extra to buy all the fun supplies on the want list. But we did what we could and we made a fun basket! The entire basket was put together for about $15. Mikayla ended her first week of school with this fun new teacher basket!
 Most of the items in the bucket were purchased at the Dollar Tree. I purchased pretty pink pens, pipe cleaners, foam stickers, and glitter there.

 The fun sticky notes were purchased from Target in the dollar section.
The pom poms were the most expensive item in the bucket. I couldn't find any at Dollar Tree or at Target, so I had to buy them at Hobby Lobby. I could have bought a smaller bag, but I figured they would be used up so quickly, so I bought the big bag. It was $5.99.

Finally, I put it all together in a purple bucket from the Dollar Tree and filled it with red and white polka dot tissue paper I already had. I cut the letters out with my Cricut and used black vinyl I already had.
I was happy with how it turned out and Mrs. White was pleased!

And for the record, I see NOTHING wrong with a little teacher bribery to ensure a good year!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Morning in the Kitchen with Aidan

I am obsessed with the Food Network. If my television is on, it is on one of two channels - Food Network or Bravo. And if my children are awake and hanging out, it's usually the Food Network, especially with my 4 1/5 year old. We LOVE to watch cooking shows together - it's kind of our thing.

The other day we were lounging while Ro Ro napped, watching the Barefoot Contessa master another delicious concoction when my son asked to make something, anything. He was so darn cute I couldn't say no. The only problem was I hadn't been to the store yet for the week so our options were slim.

BUT HAVE NO FEAR! That is what Pinterest is for! I jumped on really quick and searched my food boards for something I had all the ingredients for. Enter, the Glazed Doughnut Muffin. I found this recipe here: One look from my son and we were off to the kitchen.

We tried to make it a learning experience as much as possible. We started by having Aidan count out 12 cupcake liners to fill the muffin tin.

Next, it was time to mix up the wet ingredients of the recipe. Aidan made a perfect heart with our measuring cups. He was so excited to get to use the mixer!
Once the wet ingredients and dry ingredients were mixed in separate bowls, it was time to incorporate them. Aidan added a half a cup at a time while I folded in the dry ingredients.
 Once everything was incorporated, it was time to fill the cupcake liners. We used a large table spoon to fill each one evenly. Or as evenly as we could anyway.
While the muffins baked, we discussed the frosting process. Aidan couldn't wrap his mind around the idea of a glaze so he told me how he wanted them decorated - with a smiley face. He even drew me a picture to make sure I understood.

Also while we were waiting, I thought it important to note his baking attire. He insisted that his hard hat (really made of soft foam material) from the circus was going to make him the best chef in the world. He wore it with pride and was truly the cutest little chef ever.

Once the muffins were done baking, they had to cool for a while before we could frost them. We waited impatiently.
While the muffins cooled, we made our sugar glaze! Aidan didn't believe me that the soft powdered sugar was actually sugar, until he tasted it. And continued to taste it...

Somebody else was waiting impatiently for a glazed doughnut muffin.
Once the muffins were cool, it was time to tip them in the sugary sweet glaze. We dipped them one time and let them harden. Aidan REALLY enjoyed the dipping action.

 Once the first dip was dry we dipped them again! Then it was time to eat them!!

In the words of the chef, they were "perfect".

Spending time in the kitchen with my son allows us an opportunity to do something we both enjoy while spending uninterrupted time together. Aidan is my gentle child - always thinking of others before himself. He's known in our family as the rule enforcer. I couldn't be more proud of the little man he's becoming. I look forward to many more meals together.

If you are interested in checking out the Glazed Doughnut Muffin recipe, again, go to

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Preschool Prep

Since I've been home, I've made it a priority to spend quality time on education with the kiddos. I was going to be taking Aidan out of his preschool so I felt it only appropriate that I make time in our day to work on Kindergarten prep! I focused on the same things he was learning in school - colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. He was pretty comfortable in the first two areas; however, letters and numbers we are still working on.

Over the summer, we did the majority of our learning in the field. As a family, we have a yearly membership to the local Children's Museum. We spent a lot of time there through the summer and found it very educational. So much so that I made a point to take Mikayla's Daisy troop there for a field trip. We also explored the library and local parks. 

Now that school has started again and  Mikayla is gone through the day, it's time for Aidan and I to begin our last year of Preschool together. At first I thought I shouldn't make a plan and let learning happen spontaneously. And then I thought it through. While spontaneity is imperative to a child's development, structure is equally important. We have a typical home structure I would imagine and I feel my children benefit from the expected. 

Structure is also important to keeping MOMMY on task, on schedule, and ACCOUNTABLE! It's easy to fall into the chore trap or the let's-just-play-all-day trap and forget about the goals we've set for ourselves. For me and my eldest son, it is important that we prepare for Kindergarten next Fall. So I spent the last month of summer break researching and tweaking a curriculum that mixed education and fun for the right combination of learning!

My goal as Aidan's mommy teacher is to make sure he learns all of his letters, upper and lowercase, as well as the many sounds they make. We will work on recognizing all numbers and counting to 100. We will work on pre-writing skills as well as name recognition and writing. We will also focus on more abstract ideas, such as what being a good member of the community looks like, learning basic cooking skills, animals, holidays, cultures, and independence.

WHEW! I'm feeling exhausted and overwhelmed just typing about it!

Again, hence the importance of a PLAN! My plan is still coming together and I have not completed everything yet, but we are more than halfway there. I still have our "classroom" (AKA the loft) to spruce up as well as a few things to complete for our circle time. But we are well on our way! Our plan is to start school when we return from our Disneyland trip, so our first day will be September 9th. 

If you have a little one at home and are looking to begin the prep for Kindergarten, there are so many resources available to you! I think the two best resources I've found are Pinterest (I have a HUGE Mommy School board if you're interested in checking it out!) and the library. There are so many FREE resources, I encourage you to check them out. You can follow my Mommy School board (and any other board you'd like) at

So here is what we have so far! Like I said, we aren't done yet and our classroom is still a work in progress, but our curriculum and supplies have all been completed!

I have a small white desk downstairs that I use for completing my own homework. (I am a crazy mom in a graduate counseling program). I put the printer on the floor beside the desk and used the space for a plastic three bin drawer and material we will use daily. 

I found the silver buckets with the chalk label in the dollar section at Target. I love them!

I found this book holder also in the dollar section at Target. I have several that I use to hold my magazine obsession, I mean collection. I use it to hold workbooks, my planner, as well as the dry erase lined paper boards we practice writing on. 

Inside the three drawer container I have items we will use every day. The middle drawer has everything! Flash cards, counting bears, card games, matching games, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom letters - all the manipulatives we will use in our every day lessons. 

I found these flashcards, again, in the dollar section at Target. I purchase a ton of items there as well as the Dollar Tree.

The bottom drawer is used for paper! Lined paper for writing (which we probably won't use but I have it just in case) and construction paper. Construction paper can be bought on the CHEAP at Walmart and Dollar Tree!

The top drawer is a bit of a catchall right now. Inside I have a small container which holds items we will use for crafting, like stickers, beads, buttons, EYEBALLS! 

One activity we are carrying over from  last year is the Daily Learning Notebook. This is a tool we use every single day! I purchased the Letter of the Week program from Confessions of a Homeschooler. The Pre-K Daily Learning Notebook is a part of this program. You can find it at

One item inside the Daily Learning Notebook is the personal information sheet. It is a way to help your child learn his/her address, phone number, and emergency numbers. I have pictured a blank one here.

There is an activity sheet for each day of the week. I have laminated these sheets so that he can use a dry erase marker so we can use this daily as part of his learning!

Next is the name writing page. This is NOT laminated so that we can keep track of his name writing through our homeschool year.

There are also laminated pre-writing school pages. He traces the lines to practice his writing skills. 

Then comes the curriculum binder. OMG. This thing is HEAVY. But, it has a page for every single day of our upcoming year, so we will never run out of ideas. I also mapped out each month's activities, including books we will read and concepts we will master! The planner can be found and printed at

The curriculum I found to go with the Letter of the Week program is from Preschool Palace and can be found at

Mikayla and Aidan both have a homework caddy full of anything they would need to complete schoolwork. This is a picture of Aidan's.

These are extras for when things run out throughout the year.

No education experience would be complete without the computer. We use the learning site ABC Mouse ( for tons of activities. We use it for learning as well as a treat when our chores have been completed. I have a link from the desktop so the children can access it easily and without my help!
And that's it so far! Once the loft/classroom is complete, I will do a room tour so you can see! If you are interested in using ANY of these items above, check out my Mommy School Pinterest board - all the links are there!

I hope this was helpful! If you are a mommy teacher and have any ideas you would like to share, please do! I would LOOOOVE to hear them. I have no teaching experience other than substituting so everything I'm doing is from research I've done on other homeschoolers. 

Here's to not screwing up my kid!