March 31, 2012

Raising a caterpillar

My one son has a huge soft spot for animals....of all types...including bugs!

I am the "squisher" and he is the "rescuer".....even of stink bugs and spiders...gross!

This winter he found a brown woolly caterpillar on the underside of our grill cover.  He worried about that little guy.  We had been having a relatively mild
winter, but a cold snap was he twisted my arm and
convinced me to allow him to "save" it!

He emptied out his precious bin of air-soft pellets and made the caterpillar a
plush condo of dirt and grass.  The challenge was finding anything green to feed him in the middle of winter!

One night he came in had made a cocoon.  I honestly thought that 
the thing was dead...traumatized by the environment change!

But a few weeks later.....we had a moth!

It took some convincing, but I finally persuaded my boy to release him.  

I do have to put my foot down about having a moth flying around as a pet!

Read more ...

March 30, 2012

Fridays with Jimmie....creative expression

Over the past few Fridays, Jimmie Lanley from Jimmie's Collage has been
sharing with us her passion for lapbooking.  She has been a tremendous resource
to me as I've been homeschooling, and I hope that she will
encourage you today, as well!


In part one and two of Why Make Lapbooks? I gave a very brief overview of
lapbooking and gave what I believe to be the most important reason you should lapbook

You can also go back and read about organizing information with

Besides that foundational benefit of lapbooking, there are even more reasons to make lapbooks!

Lapbooking Benefit #2: Creative Expression

organizing egypt project

I know that not all children (and moms) love cutting, pasting, drawing, and getting crafty. But many children, especially young ones, really do. 

Lapbooking is a perfect avenue for creative expression because it is so flexible. The
same information can be represented many different ways in a minibook including text,
drawings, pasted graphics, puppets, flashcards, and so on.

You will get the maximum benefit from lapbooking if you allow your child to make
choices about how to organize and how to represent that information in his minibooks and lapbooks. 

Let him be creative in layout, artwork, and minibook folds. Creative children
usually enjoy the open ended nature of lapbooks and find them far more motivating than a
fill in the blank worksheet.

If your child loves crafty expression, make your own blank minibooks instead of
using a preprinted lapbook kit. This way you get the maximum creative expression and
ownership as well as the benefit of the organizational skills.

I admit that I first started using lapbooking with a digital kit purchased from
a major lapbook retailer. But after that initial experience, I had a good grasp of what a
lapbook could be and didn’t need to purchase kits. Instead, I offered my daughter blank
minibooks that she could choose from and fill in on her own. The educational value is
magnified when the child is choosing the book layout and dividing
the information herself. So although there is nothing wrong with premade kits, they are
somewhat akin to worksheets and have limited value.

After you feel confident with lapbooking, try going DIY. Making the books from
scratch gives the students more ownership and boosts their educational return.

Jimmie Lanley is the mother of one creative twelve year old daughter. 

Jimmie's Collage is where she blogs about her Charlotte Mason styled homeschool.
 The Notebooking Fairy features free notebooking printables and how-tos plus the affordable eBook guide Notebooking Success.

Read more ...

March 28, 2012

Thrifty Thursday #53

Are you excited for spring? 

 My daughter and I just visited Washington, DC over the 
weekend and as we were driving into the city on Friday, it was 89 degrees!!
(I guess that's more like summer!)
It was SO beautiful to see all of the cherry blossoms!  

Unfortunately though, my house still looks like to help inspire me
(and you!), here are some spring-related features!

Design, Dining + Diapers made this beautiful spring wreath from coffee filters.

Creatively Living showed us how to make this simple spring banner.

If you need a new spring outfit for your little girl, Tales of a Trophy Wife
shared how to make this easy bubble skirt.

It's Overflowing used chalkboard paint on plastic eggs!!  Awesome idea!

I saw that going differently in my mind got it right with this Angry Birds cake!

Thrifty Inspirations shared some gorgeous inspiration for a master bedroom...neutral stripes!

Shabby Love sewed this Union Jack pillow out of drop cloth and lace.

Redoux shared a convenient way to "hang" flowers if you don't have a lot of ground space!

Hopefully that will inspire you to get some spring started in your home!

If you were featured this week, feel free to grab one of my buttons!

Here are some very simple suggestions for the party:
1. Please become a follower of Thrifty Decorating.
2. Be sure to link to your POST and not your blog.
3. Please copy and paste my link button somewhere in 
your post or blog so that others can link back.

You can also party with Johnnie 

Read more ...

March 27, 2012

Winner of the Target Giftcard

Congratulations to....

Babblings and win the $25 Target Gift Card from 
last week's Thrifty Thursday birthday celebration!!

I'll be in contact with you to send you your giftcard!!

See you all tomorrow night for Thrifty Thursday Week #53!!

Read more ...

$50 Campus Textbooks Giveaway

Did you know that you can rent college textbooks???

As a science major, I paid SO much money for my textbooks!  Almost 20 years ago,
I would easily pay over $100 for just ONE book!

Campus Book Rentals rents college textbooks and can save you 40-
90% off bookstore prices...AND they offer free shipping BOTH ways!

Instead of paying $120 for this chemistry textbook... can rent it from Campus Book Rentals for $27.70 per semester!

Here are some more perks of renting textbooks with Campus Book Rentals:
-flexible renting periods
-you can HIGHLIGHT in the textbooks
-with every textbook rented they donate to Operation Smile

The best part??  Campus Book Rentals has given me a 
$50 credit to give away to you!!!

And if you don't need it now and would prefer to use it in the can!

Just leave me a comment telling me what you would use the credit for!!  I'll choose a winner on Friday, March 30th!

I still have SO many of my college texts molding in my basement.  I can't bear
to part with them because I spent so much money on them.  I told my husband
though that this spring, I am willing to have a little celebratory bonfire and burn them!

Save yourself the them!

{Campus Textbooks provided the $50 giveaway for this review, but I did not receive any financial compensation.}

Read more ...

March 26, 2012

Laundry Room

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my laundry room makeover at Craft-o-manic.

What I didn't share was that the whole project started here.....

I was only going to "reorganize" this shelf...HA!  I added shelf paper and then 
I found about 1/3 a gallon of paint leftover from my kitchen makeover.....INSPIRATION!

Here are some "before" pictures of my laundry room....the color was called latte, but it reminded me of sitting inside a cup of lukewarm hot cocoa.....but it had been leftover (and free!), so I used it!

You can see white spots where I used to have wire shelving....I ran out of paint and wasn't able to touch up those spots when we added built-in shelving a couple of year ago....those spots drove me crazy!

So here's the reveal.....all that this makeover involved was leftover paint, one roll of beadboard wallpaper, and some foam chair rail and trim!

I love the response of my one son....he walks into the laundry room, turns around and says, "Did we get new lights in here??" you miss the other changes??

My total cost was $30.00!
 Beadboard wallpaper:  $15.00 available at Lowe's 
Brushes and rollers: $5.00 
1 piece of foam chair rail:  $7.00 at Carter Lumber
1 piece of foam trim:  $3.00 at Carter Lumber

Wood shelf: FREE!  Wood just sitting around

Everything else:  FREE!  

I just shopped my house for the blue mason jars and

And because we all love before and after shots... are able to make BIG changes to your home for very little money!

Now....if I could just magically find a free can of paint that's the perfect
color for my dining room!  

Yes....I still haven't decided on a color yet and it's driving me crazy!!

Linking up to:  Beneath My Heart
Read more ...

March 25, 2012

Fun Family Dinner.....create a salad bar!

I try to make Friday nights special in our house.....but in reality, by the
time I hit Friday, I am exhausted and ready for a break!

Usually I am more prepared and will throw together this recipe for homemade 
dough and we have homemade pizza, but the other night it 
was 5:25 pm and all I had in the refrigerator were 3 chicken breasts....not
a real exciting start to a "fun" family dinner!

As I rummaged through the fridge taking inventory, I had a brainstorm....
what if I made a salad bar??

For my kids, everything tastes better if it's in a pretty bowl and lined up on the counter!

So I started grabbing some fixings and putting them in pretty bowls!

I tried to think of what would be on a real salad bar and tried to imitate...

salad fixings...

mandarin orange...

vanilla pudding...

mac and cheese.....

seasoned chicken.....

My kids thought that I was amazing!  

Here are some of my other go-to fun family recipes:

and I make homemade pizza crusts with the
dough recipe from the sausage turnovers.

Do you have any fun family dinner ideas??

Read more ...

March 23, 2012

Lapbooking: Part 2 Minibooks

I am frequently asked questions about how we homeschool.
Since I can't invite you all over to my house to show you how we do it, I thought that 
on Fridays, I'd try and share different creative ideas that we use to homeschool.

Last week Jimmie from Jimmie's Collage introduced us to lapbooking and shared
with us some of her Flickr Photos of lapbooks that she has created.

This week she is going to be sharing how minibooks create a physical scaffold 
for the information that goes into our lapbooks.


When you select a minibook that matches the type or amount of 
information, you have created a physical scaffold for the information.

This learning scaffold makes the ideas easier to understand and to remember. Young
children are not abstract thinkers. Anything a homeschool mom can do to make that
understanding tangible will help the children to learn. 

Minibooks can make ideas more concrete.

eclipse lapbook diagram

Take this solar eclipse minibook as an example. This simple accordion fold book
divides the information visually into four parts: the earth, the moon, the sun, and a
panel for explanation. The folds of the book itself contribute to the 
significance of the science facts in the book. 

Without the earth, moon,and sun lined up correctly, there is no solar eclipse. 

Yes, the same idea could be represented on a plain sheet of paper, but the folds help 
to outline the facts in a very visual way.

periodic table of elements lapbook 
(6) periodic 
table of elements lapbook (7)

Another example is from a Chemistry lapbook
This minibook features the five elements in the Nitrogen family. 

Each element gets its own matchbook within the larger folder. So the physical minibook
reflects the reality that these elements are all 
different (separate matchbooks) but related (placed in a single minibook).

There are myriad ways to organize information, so don’t worry about getting it
wrong. But do be deliberate to match the minibook’s layout and its folds with the contents. 

If your material is three steps, have a three flap layered book (or four flaps if you leave one 
for the title page). If your content is a list of equally important information, a wheel book may 
work well. Don’t be obsessive over making the content match the form, but do keep it in mind.

What is so important about organizing information? 
The answer is writing. 

The same mental process involved in 

dividing information into a minibook is used in composition.

In fact, you can look at most minibooks as paragraphs. The title page is the
topic sentence, and the pages or flaps are the main ideas in the paragraph. There is a
direct application from minibooks to organizing paragraphs and even essays. That makes
minibooks tiny, movable graphic organizers.

If you have questions about how to use lapbooking, please feel free to leave
them in a comment below. I’ll check back and provide my answers. And, readers, please
feel free to answer each other’s questions. We all have something to offer.

Jimmie Lanley is the mother of one creative twelve year old daughter. 

Jimmie's Collage is where she blogs about her Charlotte Mason styled homeschool.
 The Notebooking Fairy features free notebooking printables and how-tos plus the affordable eBook guide Notebooking Success.
Read more ...

March 21, 2012

Thrifty Thursday #52

Happy Birthday to  Thrifty Thursdays!  She turns ONE today!

It is very hard for me to believe that it has been one whole YEAR of meeting
all of you here on Thursdays!  I have enjoyed getting to know many of
you over the past year and to say THANK YOU for your continuous links, 

I have a little surprise for YOU.....
a $25 gift card to Target!!!

If you link up to the party, then you are entered to win!!  I'll announce
the winner on Sunday evening because I am headed to Washington, DC for
some momma/daughter time with my baby girl!

Now, here are this week's features.....

The Stories of A to Z and Little B upcycled these earrings with a little bit of fun!

Eat Cake for Dinner made this Honey Sesame Chicken in a slow cooker!  

Semi Homemade Mom shared these amazing-looking Strawberry Cheese Danish...YUM!

Crafty Cousins shared these Dry Erase Quiet Boards which would
be a great idea to pin for summer travel!

Small Home Love designed this Sunburst Mirror using wooden skewers!  
As a child of the 70's I remember one of these in our living room!

4 the Love of Wood painted and distressed this dresser and added the image using sharpies!!

If you were featured this week, feel free to grab one of my buttons!

Here are some very simple suggestions for the party:
1. Please become a follower of Thrifty Decorating.
2. Be sure to link to your POST and not your blog.
3. Please copy and paste my link button somewhere in 
your post or blog so that others can link back.

You can also party with Johnnie 

Read more ...
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