Sunday, July 31, 2011

Homeschool - C is for Caterpillar

The "C" is for Caterpillar lesson plan was my favorite thus far. Noelle and I enjoyed all of the fun caterpillar projects. The first three days were challenging for Noelle, she can recognize C but had a hard time with the "cuh" sound that it makes. So we lived letter C for 5 days.

On our nightly walks we looked for things that start with C - car, curb, (trash) can, etc. Every day we made a list of people we know whose names start with "cuh" and we finished each lesson with a hunt for objects around the house that start with "cuh" - candle, cross, cork, candy, cow, computer, cup.

Noelle said her favorite part of letter "C" was "gluing the caterpillars."

{Here are a few pictures from Week 7}

Noelle put the caterpillar in order from 1 to 10 by herself

She was pretty proud of herself - as was mommy.

We had fun with this "game." I had Noelle close her eyes and I put caterpillars on the leaf. When she opened her eyes she counted the caterpillars and found the matching number. 

A little gluing is always entertaining.

I printed this number workbook which has helped Noelle learn numbers 1-20. On each page she circles a number and traces it at the bottom. 

{she asked very nicely to use a sharpie - It was a one-time deal}

Week "C" Bible Verse:
"Children obey your parents in the Lord. For this is right." Ephesians 6:1

Friday, July 29, 2011

Coming Next Week - Kidding Around Friday {link party}

The lovely Katie from Love, Lattes & Lullabies and I will be hosting an all-things-kid-related
 link party starting next Friday!

Growing Up Gardner
{Kid}ding Around Friday will be the place to share your favorite kid-related posts about:
Crafts, Milestones, Homeschooling, Kid-Friendly Food, Decorating, Photography,
Great Deals, Organization and more!

{To Join the Party}

1. Follow your hosts, Katie & Amanda.
2. Link to a specific kid-related post.
Up to 3 entries each. No giveaways or shops, please.
3. Grab our adorable little button - seriously, isn't it darling?
4. Enjoy reading through some of the other posts and make new friends!

Each week we will feature 3 of our favorite posts from the previous week.
By submitting a link, you are granting Katie and I permission to use the photos from your post.

So get your post ready to link up next Friday. See you then.

~ Amanda & Katie

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Target TOY Clearance, 75% off

I dominated the 75% off toy clearance this morning.

The kids and I arrived at Target at 8:05 am and headed straight for the toy department. A little lady with a magic clearance wand was spreading red tag joy all over the aisles. I quickly made friends with her (having an adorable 5 month old in tow helped) and then started checking off my list.

We have 8 nieces/nephews plus our 2 little ones, and many friends with kids to buy gifts for throughout the year. This sale is a huge blessing for us! And I don't feel bad at all for buying gifts on clearance. It's called being thrifty.

Back to the sale - My new friend told me that if I find something that isn't marked down to 75% off then she'll scan it for me. Awesome!

After an hour, my carts (yep, I was the lady with 2 carts) were full and a couple more people started wandering the aisles with me. I was the only one there for an entire hour! People in this town are so out of the loop :)
Here are the 24 items that I scored with my $100 budget:
Girls Toys:
My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, Cinderella storybook playset, (2) Princess Bubble wands, Flower Bracelet Craft, Barbie Mermaid Dress, Strawberry Shortcake Twirling Flower Fashions

Gender Neutral Toys:
Play-doh Backpack, Fisher-Price Little People Build 'n Carry Construction, Fisher-Price Little People Build 'n Carry Matching Animals, Special Agent Oso Go-Go-Go Race Car, 
Special Agent Oso Special Agents.

Chuck Toys
Crazy Crane Stunt (originally $19.99, clearance $4.98)
Rumbling Chuck (originally $34.99, clearance $8.74)

Cars Lego Set (originally $39.99, clearance for $9.98)

 Thomas & Friends Set (originally $49.99, clearance for $12.48)

Other Boys Toys:
Handy Manny Let's Get To Work!, Cars 2 Plush Toy Set of 3, (3) Kung Fu Panda 2 character sets of 2 (one was opened in the car), Chuggington Wilson Carry Case

Retail Cost = $380.45 (24 items)

Total without tax = $94.89
and I got a $5 gift card :)

Some of my favorites are the Play-doh backpack which comes with 40 pieces and 4 play-doh cans, the Cinderella Story-book, Thomas & Friends 101 piece set and the Cars Lego Set and Plush Toy set.

Good luck if you are heading out to find some deals!

Here are some tips:
Always be kind to the workers
If you find an item that isn't marked down to 75% off, scan it. If the price comes up lower, then find someone with a magic clearance wand.
Look ALL over the toy section. This year, the clearance toys were not in one aisle but all through the department.
Make a list of who you need to buy for and set a budget.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gardner Grub - Simple & Fancy Go-To Meal

For this weeks Gardner Grub I'm sharing a simple "go to" meal that Mr. G and I enjoy at least once a month. It's great all year long and a winner when you have company.

First up is my Glazed Walnut and Apple Salad
Romaine Lettuce or Spring Mix
Glazed Walnuts
Fuji Apple - diced
Feta Cheese
Girard's Champagne dressing
Simple, delicious.

Teriyaki Beef Skewers
One large Ribeye (for 2 people) - cubed
Teriyaki Sauce

Marinate for an hour.
Heat grill on Medium-Low. Skewer the meat and grill for 3.5 minutes on each side.

My Ice Cream Cake Fake-Out is being featured today at It's A Keeper!

It's a Keeper

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bullseye Bargain - Clearance News in Pictures

My store is adding the grocery department which means lots of clearance goodies. I had two sleepy kids today so I couldn't stay and browse like I wanted, but I was able to snap some pictures of the clearance mania.

Here's what I found at 50%-75% off.

All of these baby items are 75% off - 
{I scored this car seat mirror for only 4 bucks, marked down from $16}

socks, shoes, and outfits
Bath covers (which are amazing!) and bath hoodies.

All of this bedding was 50% off
And several items from the Shabby Chic collection (LOVE)

Boys Wall Art 50% off

Select bath towls 50% off
Rugs 50% off

Teachers Supplies 75% off
Stickers 75% off

And these summer items have been 30% off for a week and will probably go half off soon.

The toy section is looking pretty good. Most are half off. I'll be heading out in the morning to see if they are marked down. Good luck finding some great deals!

Wordless Wednesday (with words) - "instagrams"

Baby Feet.

Napping after a fun day with daddy at Build-A-Bear

My sister

 "I'm Dark Bader"

My gorgeous friend Maureen at her Bridal Shower

Maureen opening a present


and then, she {snapped}

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Homeschool - Getting Started

I've had many comments on the homeschool posts from readers who are encouraged to start homeschooling or plan on starting in the future so in this post I thought I'd share a few things that have been helpful to me and Noelle.

When I got serious about starting a curriculum with Noelle I was quickly overwhelmed with the amount of information there is out there. I remember my heart pounding and telling Mr. G that I felt inadequite. There were so many sites to filter though and nothing stood out to me. Then I found Confessions of a Homeschooler and immediately I knew I found the perfect place to start. I purchased the Letter of the Week curriculum for $10 and starting printing the first weeks lesson plan. We will be moving on to the K4 curriculum next.
So do some research and find a curriculum that fits for your homeschooler and give it a try! Homeschooling has been one of the best decisions that I have made. I've heard from many moms that they've never heard someone say they wish they didn't homeschool - only that they wished they started sooner. After the first day I was hooked. It is a blast teaching Noelle.

My experience as a substitute teacher was helpful from the start. I've worked in almost all grades from Kinder to High School as a sub. My time in the Kindergarten classes helped me get Noelle's "classroom" set up. If you have a friend who teaches maybe you can ask for a tour of the classroom.

Keeping to a schedule is key. If we don't get into the "classroom" first thing in the morning, I'll get busy with chores and projects and shopping - and school gets pushed back or forgotten for the day.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. On Sunday night I prepare all of the material for the week. It makes everything easier to have it done in advance, especially with a young one. Noelle is not going to sit around waiting for me to print, cut and organize the lesson plan for the day, so I have it all laid out ready to go in the morning.

Find your child's learning strengths and style. Noelle learns fast with songs and repetition. She will learn a Bible verse in one hour if I repeat it 10 or so times when she's tracing, lacing, coloring, etc. About the 5th time she'll start to say it with me. She's very much an auditory and kinesthetic learner.
Noelle and I made this song up to remember vowels. It's a silly little jingle, but ask her what the vowels are and she'll tell you!
"a.e.i.o.u. Oh Ya. a.e.i.o.u. Brake It Down Now"

Pray. I pray daily for wisdom, patience and contagious excitement about learning.

A short Vlog about our "classroom"

We finished up the vowels with letter O and then spent a week reviewing each letter and all 5 Bible verses. I think I'll do a review week every 5 weeks or so. It was fun to go back and see what she's learned and accomplished.
This past week Noelle learned letter B - for butterfly. Here are a few pictures of her favorite activities:

Tracing all of the letters in the alphabet - she did this several times.

 Matching big B with big B and little b with little b.

Tracing B and b

Matching (and gluing)

A Piggy With Personality

Yesterday my mom bought Noelle a Paint-It-Yourself piggy bank. I've been meaning to get one as a decoration for her room, I just haven't gotten around to it. You know how that goes. I love the cute dressed up piggy banks that they have at Target - I once saw an adorable vintage flapper piggy. When Noelle proudly showed me her new piggy bank I immediately saw all the potential it had.

I can paint a little tutu on it and make it a ballerina piggy. Or paint a saddle on the back and make it a cowgirl piggy. Or a princess piggy....

"Mom, can I paint my pig now?"
"How about tomorrow, honey. It's late.

6:30 a.m. I hear my bedroom door open. "Mom! Can I paint my pig now?"
I roll off the bed, trying not to wake up baby brother. 
We walk into the playroom - she puts on her Rapunzel dress - and I get the piggy out of the box.

"Can mommy help you? I can paint a ballerina piggy!" (using my most convincing voice)
"No. I want to do it by myself."

 I opened up the paint and handed her the paint brush, relinquishing all my ideas for the piggy. As much as I wanted to make a cute little decoration for her room, I knew she would love painting it herself. And I always encourage her to be creative.

"What color do you want to use first?"

the poor piggy looked like it had been slaughtered.

 I was happy when she decided it needed more color.

She is so proud of her piggy.

A Noelle original. 

And much more interesting than a ballerina piggy.