# Number Day Plans and Free Printables

In just two days is the start of a new month, and the perfect opportunity to start a new learning goal. A couple years ago I taught my daughter her alphabet with a month of special letter days and activities (read more about that here). We did the same for her colors. It is time to do it again- this time with numbers!
Each number will have it’s own day. On August 31, I will teach my Boo about the number 0. Why the 31st? Because September 1 marks the day we will learn about number 1… and I wanted to integrate learning numbers on a calendar. It just made more sense to me!
On my wiki I have a number book cover and number pages 0-30 that you are free to download and use. The activity page is simple- the number of the day is found on the top. There are 6 activities on each page. The first two activities are tracing and writing the number. The third activity is stamping… I have a bunch of number stamps my Boo will use. The next activity is self explanatory.. trace the number word. (We are doing a lot of tracing these days, can you tell?) The “show the number” activity is where my kiddo will show me the number using objects (stickers, stamps, squiggly lines, dots, etc) The last thing on the page is finding and circling the number of the day on the good ole number line!

I also made a blank calendar for September 2011 that my daughter will use to write or stamp the numbers in each day.
Some other ideas for number ideas might include:
– making up a silly song about the number
-writing the number with sidewalk chalk
-going on a number hunt- looking for objects or groups of objects that correspond with your number of the day
-pull out the Montessori math manipulatives (and ipad apps) or unifix blocks
-connect the dot pages- there is a lot available here for free!
-plus a million other great ideas at the Ideas for Preschoolers site… and tons of free downloads! This site is an incredible, thorough resource!!!!
My hope is to gear these number days to my kiddo-she is already a good little counter, our focus will be learning to write digits 2-9 and recognizing written numerals 11-30. And most importantly- to have a heck of a fun time with numbers!
Happy Teaching!

# Baby Shower Planner Pages

I am planning a baby shower next month for my sister in law. I love planning! To make sure I didn’t leave out an important step in the process, I created these organizers.
What I love about them is that they are functional, and yet pretty darn cute ðŸ™‚ And we all know how important the cute factor is….
Here is a preview of the pages… click on the link below the image to download the entire packet (consisting of 4 pages).

The clipart used is from Amy Dott Harmer– I love all her work and have bought a lot of it!
Happy Teaching and planning! ðŸ™‚

# Super Cute Chore Chart

I have debated on when to start my little one on a chore chart… and I realized that the time has come! She is old enough to be responsible for a few tasks, and I figured I should start this chart while she still loves to help! ðŸ™‚

After finding a simple, yet cute, chore chart online (check out Leah Remillet’s photography site for a free download) I went to work on what chores are appropriate for a three year old. I decided that 10 tasks would be great (and there just happened to be 10 lines on the chart!) We have a very solid night routine (brush teeth, say family prayers, scriptures) but we struggle with the mornings. So the first four tasks on the list revolve around improving our morning routine. As a teacher I had to stick in some of our learning activities- so two tasks are centered around scholastic education. Writing in journal, putting toys away, and putting on jammies are to help my daughter take more responsibility at night and to HOPEFULLY motivate her to do them quickly… I am sure I am the only parent with a daughter who associates bedtime with playtime! That left one task..feeding the dogs. She already loves to help with that, so I know that making this her special job will thrill her to pieces- or so I hope!
I also started thinking about external incentives- would she be motivated by stickers alone? I didn’t want to be caught in the trap of giving her a treat every time she earned her 10 stickers for the day. So this is the plan: When my daughter earns her daily 10 stickers, we will run around the table (my daughter LOVES this!) and sing the “Go Jackie!” song/cheer. Simple- yet meeting the ultimate goal of my daughter knowing how proud we are of her and her good choices! I am also thinking of adding a special gold star sticker on her chart when she can go a whole day without a time out.
I am in the works to start a social skills jar with my daughter- focusing on a different skill every two weeks to a month (such as listening, following instructions, waiting, interrupting appropriately, and accepting feedback or correction) There are roughly 18 skill ideas that I would like to implement (taken from the Cool Kids program). I hope to type up that post as soon as we get our feet wet with the program!
As always, happy teaching!

# Organizing Hair Bows

Like many of you parents out there, I struggled with how to store hair bows. I tried hanging bows from ribbons and bow boards, but there was never enough room for all the bows. And they became problematic when my daughter thought it hilarious to rip them off. And I kept them all grouped together by color, so whenever we got new bows I would have to rearrange them so there would be room by the right color. I also tried the throw them into a basket method, which obviously has it’s downsides when you are in a hurry to find a bow that matches.

Recently we acquired some darling new bows from a neighborhood bow party. My daughter and I were admiring the beautiful bows when we decided to pull out ALL the hair bows and head bands and sort them by color.After we had sorted them, I thought “Now wouldn’t it be great if we could just KEEP them sorted!” And as I was about to start throwing the bows back into the basket, I came up with this idea. Why not take the unused head bands (bought at the dollar store) and stick on the hair bows!
It is the perfect solution for me… I can keep the bows out of sight and yet they are still sorted by color. (And do you see those darling little cards on our piano? Check out KinderBach.com! My daughter is learning SO many amazing piano skills from this site!) When my daughter is wearing blue, I can give her the blue hair band and she can choose her own bows (I am a little controlling about her matching!). It is also a great way to show various shades of one color. AND it is a great way to put those headbands to work! ðŸ™‚Happy Teaching and Organizing!

# Weekly Schedule Chart for Little Ones

I came across this great pocket chart at Target for a buck. I put it on our fridge and it serves as a schedule of our weekly events. I LOVE that I can easily put the activity cards in and out of the chart. (the cards have an activity with a picture and the word) After I put in the cards that have a specific day, I can have her choose activities for the rest of the days. For example, I know church will be every Sunday, so that day can’t be changed. But we might go to the duck pond during the week, and that could be done on any day, so I would let her choose which day she would like to go. I LOVE that it is on our fridge and therefore I use it. My daughter is already recognizing that Sunday is a special day, and will use the names of the days in her regular conversation. We can also review at the end of the day/week what we have done, and can look ahead to see what is happening the next day! (This is terrible, but during church I think about the activities we will be doing for that week so I can have the cards made and ready for her.) If I were to change anything about this chart- I wouldn’t make the names of the days all capitals (it was just the font I had chosen- didn’t even think about it until later!)

# If I had all the time in the world, I would…

I love all things organizational, and when ABC and 123 did their Let’s Get Organized party, I was having a drool fest!! All I can say is that I am so amazed and impressed with the talent of some of you out there in the blogosphere! I wanted to compile a list of some of the things I would do if I ever get caught up in life!!

1. A List Maker’s Life– CUTE monthly calendars and a file box system for sorting different papers
2. Shared from way over here– organizing all your stuff
3. 1+1+1=1– preschool binder (ah! I love binders!!!) Carisa is one of those teacher gems- If you haven’t checked out her website, it is a MUST!! She has great ideas not only for organization, but also has incredible curriculum that she provides at no cost! How she does it all, I will never know!
4. The Happy Scraps– closet organizers. Not that we really need them, but they are just SO stinkin’ cute!!!
5. The Shafer Family– reading curriculum ideas. One day I will be that organized! And it looks like her daughter is having so much fun LEARNING!!!
6. Nanny goat– 30 meals plan. It looks like a great idea for planning meals!
7. Monkey See Monkey Do– simple yet thorough cleaning schedule
8. My Delicious Ambiguity– a creative and cheap way to organize puzzles
Those are just SOME of the many, many sites that I love! My goal for this week: get all my curriculum sorted and planned. Right now I have PILES of stuff on each of my daughter’s learning trays. I never knew how much curriculum I had until I tried to organize it all! As far as learning is concerned, I want to have daily piano lessons (about 10 minutes), daily reading activities (about 15 minutes), and daily time to work on our learning trays that are lovingly referred to as “Super Work” by my girl (about 10 minutes- but she is more than welcome to spend more time than that!)
Do you ever feel like there is SO MUCH stuff out there to teach our kids? How do you manage it all??

# The Evolution of our Family and Learning Binders

I am addicted to many things- from chocolate licorice, planning curriculum, kissing my daughter, and binders. I feel such a sense of power as I organize my life into sheet protectors. . . I just FINALLY finished updating our home & learning binders and I thought I would take you on a journey of our past binders.

Here is the binder that started it all. This was when our family consisted of me,
my sweet husband, and our two dogs. I thought I would be creative and do a silhouette pic of our faces- I swear the cover is the most important part of the binder!
An inside look at a divider. Did we use this binder faithfully? No. I am a great
planner and a not so great executor.

Which brings us to our simplified version of our family binder- known as the
little red folder. Problems- too little- there were pages of grocery ideas, food storage
expiration dates, cleaning schedules, menus, etc all stuffed inside a two pocket folder.
This system did not last long! Besides, there was no cute cover!

Our latest family binder as of today. I was inspired to do a scrapbooking
cover by my creative sister-in-law. I am happy with how it looks
on the outside!

Here is a look at the inside of the binder. There are dividers for menus, cleaning stuff/checklists, ideas (for home projects, scrapbook pages, blog posts, gifts), church stuff, special dates, routine, food expiration list, and babysitter stuff.

The first learning binder for my daughter. This was full of ALL the many activities I was going
to do with her- from art, to baby massage and yoga. . . it was all right here. This was the ultimate baby binder that unfortunately got lost in a cupboard for awhile. Not so effective!

This is the latest learning binder for my daughter. I have it divided into her learning days- My Faith Monday (which has a checklist of scripture stories as well as coloring pages and craft ideas all ready to go for Family Home Evening), Tumbling Tuesday large motor activity lists and games, Wednesday Words which has some spanish stuff, Tea Time and Rhyme Thursday which has printables all ready to go for this month’s nursery rhyme/fairy tale, and a list of field trips for our Field Trip Fridays. The organization is all coming together, I just need to execute my little plans now!

Happy Teaching!

# Expired Food Overtaking your Kitchen? Not Anymore!

A couple weeks ago I organized my food storage. As small as our little stash of food is, I was surprised at HOW MUCH of it had already expired! I filled my entire kitchen table with old boxes of pasta-roni, shake and bake chicken, an assortment of canned goods, 5 bags of potato flakes, and much MUCH more. Arg! I threw out our wonderful dinner schedule for the next week and made a variety of “expired dinners” instead!

Happy Teaching!

# Playroom Labels (finally!)

I have been wanting to create some labels for some plastic drawers in my daughter’s playroom. These should help her in knowing where the toys belong and will make cleaning up more an independent activity. I finally got around to doing it (better late than never, right?)

I have always struggled creating weekly menus. It’s not that I don’t like the concept- I think planning ahead of time is essential in staying on top of things. I just always seem to draw a blank on what to prepare. I looked at what I had written down for the coming week- spaghetti, hawaiin haystacks, soup & sandwiches, crock pot stew…. where I then had an organizational idea. Instead of creating dinner menus day to day, why not create 7 daily food themes (one for each day of the week) and then jot down lists of possible dinners.
For example, we eat a lot of Italian food. It seems like we eat spaghetti at least twice a week- and that gets old after awhile. So I created “Italian Thursday”. I then wrote down all the Italian food that I love, and voila! I have a month’s worth of Thursdays all planned! Seriously, menu planning became so much easier after I decided to create menu lists instead!
Here is our week in food: Crock Pot Sunday, Multi-Cultural Monday, Try Something New Tuesday, Wild Card Wednesday, Italian Thursday, Friday’s Favorites, Soup and Sandwiches Saturday.

Roast/potatoes, stew, soups, anything made in a crock pot!
There is SO many dinner ideas in this category! Enchiladas, tacos, ham fried rice, orange chicken, burritos, sushi, etc!!!
This is a day that I felt was important for my little family. I get stuck in the routine of making the same things over and over again- and I want my daughter to experience new foods (so she won’t be a picky eater like her momma!) This will be the day where I open up the good ole recipe book and try something new! And if we like it- I can add it to our Friday’s Favorite list!I have playgroup Wed- not a lot of cooking time. This will be the day where we might finish off some leftovers, or do something crazy like breakfast for dinner. (I love breakfast for dinner and I can see us doing this a lot- crepes, french toast, waffles, omelets, YUMMY!)
Love this day! I can serve up spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, fettuccine, panini, risotto, ravioli… there is 7 weeks of different Italian foods write there! No more spaghetti twice a week!
This is where I can put down ANYTHING that I know my family loves to eat! Chili and corn bread, hawaiin haystacks, pizza, chicken pot pie, chicken caesar salad, etcThis day will be dedicated to soups and/or sandwiches! Nothing like a bowl of soup on a brisk autumn day!

What I like about this plan is that it makes sense in my plan-a-holic brain. I always know what to expect for dinner on any given day, and if I am struggling for a menu item- I simply look at our theme and google for ideas! I just like that this provides some structure for planning a menu.

I dare you to try this and see how much easier planning a menu really is!

Happy EATING!!!