Monday, November 18, 2013

Click Here for a FREE PDF of These Ideas
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and, as the song implies, we need snow on the ground to be able to go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. In fact, last week our area received the first forecast predicting snow. Today, however, the bees are buzzin’, the glads are peeking from the ground, and all signs point to spring. Usually, this is the time of year when we go from light jackets and sneakers to winter coats and boots—not from boots back to flip-flops. I had planned on adding this post next week, but with the first true snowfall delayed, I thought I’d add the alternatives to snow post a bit early.
Today’s post is all about creating a wonderful snow day sans actual snow. Many of these ideas for creating snow day fun are well known to moms, dads, and teachers. However, I am combining the ideas in one handy-dandy post.
So…even if the bees are still buzzin’ in your yard and summer shoes replace winter shoes, you and your little ones can have a frosty fun day with the following ideas.

1. You can create a simple and frosty cool version of snow with merely a box of baking soda and a can of shaving cream. 
2. You can easily create your own snowballs from yarn and a cardboard form.

3. Send the kids on a scavenger hunt to find household items and toys that look like a snowball. Use these collected items for some fun hands-on learning. 

4. Marshmallows and pom poms make perfect substitutions for snow. 
5. After a fun day of playing with snow that isn’t really snow, read this story to discover another way to create a snowstorm. Sometimes Snow Falls in the Summer is a read-aloud that takes a little girl and her grandmother on a journey into the land of imagination. This story was inspired by my years spent in Michigan, where the Lake Effect Snow Machine rarely broke down during the winter and the summers provided many more brilliant snowstorms thanks to nature’s creativity.

This post has been shared on the following blogs. Please check them out:

Gift of Curiosity dot Com

The Squishable Baby dot Com

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom dot Org

Monday, November 11, 2013


Today is all about my favorite veteran, my sailor husband. I am thankful for the time and devotion that so many who have proudly served our country gave to protect our freedoms and our loved ones.
Therefore, my post today is an early rendition of Thanksgiving leftovers. I am reposting an earlier post for preschool through first grade with a link to a free printable PDF.
In a time when budgets are trimmed, dollars are stretched, and educators are forever expected to do more with less, sometimes it helps to tap into free resources to add to your curriculum materials.

Today’s post is not actually an activity—the post is how to use a FREE resource to teach and reinforce many concepts in your classroom. With a little help from your students, you can quickly fill a tub with these handy dandy manipulatives and therefore have the materials necessary for countless center ideas.
This resource of simple lids saved from common household objects can be used to teach many concepts at the preschool and primary levels. These activities can be used in a guided lesson or as a center activity.

Assorted plastic caps in multiple colors and sizes
Printout shown (optional)


1. Prior to using the tub of caps, assign your students the task of collecting clean plastic lids from home.
2. Create printouts of image provided to accompany the tub of caps.
3. Put on your own thinking cap and see how many ways you can use this FREE resource with your children. Here are just a few of the possibilities:

What concepts can you teach with this resource?

This post has been shared on the following blogs. Please check them out:

Living Well Spending Less dot Com


Friday, November 1, 2013

Handprint Angel, Angel Tree Donation, & Becoming a ONE

UPDATE 11-21-2013: Congratulations to the winners of the Angel Tree donation project. The winners are: Amy, Barb, Dana, David, and Dawn. As soon as the toys have been chosen, ordered, and sent to the Salvation Army Angel Tree donation site in West Michigan and given to the Salvation Army Angel Tree program in Central Virginia, follow-up photos will be added to this blog. Please check back for further updates. Thank you to everyone for entering.

UPDATE 11-8-2013: Yesterday I visited the Richmond Salvation Army that covers the Angel Tree program for Central Virginia. M. was very helpful with choosing 10 angel cards from his area. 10 more will be helped in Grand Rapids. Thanks, M., for being a ONE!

If you have ever heard the saying of someone taking another person under their wing, you probably realize that the word ‘wing’ refers to a bird’s wing. However, every day, every hour, and every moment an angel on earth is taking someone under their angel’s wing—making their life shine a bit brighter. The act may be as simple as helping a person, arms full of grocery bags, open the car door. It may be a bigger act, such as assisting an elderly neighbor by raking their leaves in the fall.

Young or old, we can all make a difference in another person’s life and become an angel on earth.
Roger Mulder was truly an angel on earth. For years he purchased toys and gifts, loaded them into the back of his pickup truck, and delivered the toys to the Angel Tree drop off location at WoodTV 8 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The children that received one of his toys never had the opportunity to meet him. But, I am certain that Mr. Mulder felt the warmth of the smiles and laughter generated by his thoughtful and selfless act of kindness.
An act of kindness is the truest form of a win-win situation—both the giver and the recipient benefit from the generosity.
Sadly, Mr. Mulder passed away in 2009. In an effort to continue his generosity, I am conducting my own Angel Tree donation project with this post that will hopefully reach every corner of the United States.
Today’s post marks the beginning of a very special season of giving and showing thanks for those in our lives that have taken us under their wing. Please read the details of this very special giveaway as the guidelines will be strictly followed.

THE DETAILS: The giveaway for the toys and books will work as follows:

A. Parents will submit an entry into the giveaway the by posting a comment on this blog post AND an providing an email contact (emailed privately to the moderator of this blog).*
B. At the conclusion of this giveaway, 5 names will be randomly selected from the entry list. Those 5 entrants will assist their children in choosing an appropriate toy from Amazon that is within the $10-$15 price range.
C. The 5 winners will receive the toy they have selected, as a gift from the blog moderator. In addition to their toy, a duplicate toy will be sent to the Angel Tree collection site in Grand Rapds, Michigan in memory of Roger Mulder AND a duplicate toy will be delivered to the Angel Tree collection site in Richmond, Virginia. They will also receive a copy of Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco. Quinton Hamp, a main character in the story, was based on an employee of the Union City, Michigan school system—a real angel on earth who was ONE that made a difference.
D. The winners of the giveaway must create a handprint Angel as shown below. A photocopy or scan of the Angel with the child’s first initial of their first name and the state they live in must be added to the line at the bottom of the angel’s robe. These scans or photocopies will also be given to the Angel Tree coordinator in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in memory of Roger Mulder.

A pdf of the activity components will be furnished to the winners via email.
E. A collage of the handprint angels will also be posted onto this blog, as a virtual tribute to Mr. Mulder’s generosity.

*Due to the time sensitivity of this giveaway, the winners of the toy and book giveaway must contact the blog moderator within 3 days of the giveaway’s end. If a response is not received within three days (72 hours) of the givaway’s end, an alternate winner will be selected.
**This post will be reposted two more times in November.


This activity is a great way to highlight the ways your children help others out. As they create the handprint angel, discuss the ways they have helped out in your home, your neighborhood, and your community. By the time your little ones complete their handprint angel, don’t be surprised if they continue to spread their angel wings by helping out others in new and different ways.

Blue construction paper
White paint
Pipe Cleaners
Glue and tape
Printouts of angel parts
Crayons or markers

1. Prior to creating the handprint angel, discuss how your child helps out others. For example: A big sister may help a younger sibling carry a toy that is a bit too heavy for him or her. A little one may help Mom pick up things that have rolled under a table. A classmate may invite the new child in the class to join them at the lunch table. This discussion will definitely carry over into the creating portion of the activity.
2. Print out choice of angel sheet—with either a pink or green body.

3. Using washable paint, make white handprints making sure the palms face each other and the hands are closer to the top of the paper. Allow to dry.

4. Cut out the angel body, head, and star. Write your name (first initial and state you live in if you are completing this for the Angel Tree ONE project) on the line at the bottom of the angel body.

5. With tape or glue, attach the center of the pipe cleaner to the back of the star.

6. With tape or glue, attach the ends of the pipe cleaner to the back of the angel body, shaping to form arms.

7. Attach the body and head to the dried handprints.

8. Add eyes, a nose, and a mouth.


The image is timeless. In fact, at some point in our lives, we have all been a character in this portrait of recess time at school.
Imagine a group of smiling children gathered in the schoolyard with the sound of laughter filling the air. Initially, the sight of such a happy scene brings fond memories of games of hopscotch, basketball, and high water-low water.
However, upon a closer look, the source of the laughter becomes more evident. The warm fuzzies created by the sight of the beaming faces are washed away. They are replaced by a sadness brought on by the tears streaming down the face of the forlorn child trapped in the center of the cluster of children. That child is the victim of bullying.
In Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco, this heartbreaking scene is played out in a school in Union City, Michigan. However, the setting could by any where or anytime.
Welcome Comfort (yes, his name really is Welcome Comfort) is the new kid in school. And, as often happens in situations like this, little time passes before Welcome is teased about his name, teased about his weight, and teased about his family.

This story could have easily taken any turn by the end of the book. Welcome could have turned bitter at being teased. He could have lashed out at others, turning from the bullied to the bullier. He could have withdrawn from society and never allowed his own light to shine. However, Polacco chose a brighter path for Welcome.
When Mr. Hamp, the humble school custodian, witnesses the bullying, he takes Welcome under his wing. Together with his librarian wife, Mr. Hamp shows Welcome that there are caring people in this world. Mr. Hamp becomes a mentor and a friend, forming a lifelong bond.

He takes him fishing.
He teaches him how to whittle.
He invites Welcome into his heart and into his home.

With Mr. Hamp’s help, Welcome finds happiness and success. He pays this act forward by the story’s end, allowing his own bright light to shine upon others.
Through heartwarming illustrations and lyrical prose, Polacco succeeds in teaching an important lesson to both children and adults—it only takes one person to make a difference.

Intended as a read-aloud, this story of love and hope is perfect to experience while snuggling under a fluffy blanket and sipping a cup of hot cocoa. By the story’s end, everyone that reads Welcome Comfort will most assuredly be inspired to become a ONE.

*This giveaway will include a toy selected from Amazon with a total value not to exceed $15 and a copy of Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco. The registration will last from the posting of this blog post until midnight, November 18, 2013. EST. Five winners will be randomly selected from the entries.The books and toy will be shipped from Amazon within approximately 2 weeks following the close of the giveaway. Of the 5 selected winners, 1 will receive, in addition to the toy and book, a $10 Amazon gift card. The winners MUST contact the blog moderator to confirm receipt of their notice of winning within 3 days of the end of the giveaway. Alternate winners will be selected in the event of no confirmation contact within that three day guideline. By accepting a winning entry, the winner agrees to create a handprint angel and send a scan or photocopy of that angel to the blog administrator to be given to the Angel Tree donation site in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The giveaway is open to residents of the United States with a United State’s mailing address.
To be considered for entry into this giveaway, the entrant’s email address must be submitted to the blog administrator.

THANK YOU FOR READING THIS POST. And, THANK YOU, MR. MULDER, for showing us ALL how to become a ONE.
I hope you join me and help make another child’s light shine brighter by becoming a ONE!

This post was shared on the following blogs. Please check them out:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom dot Org

Teach Beside Me dot Com

I Can Teach My Child dot Com

Kids Activities Blog dot Com

Homeschool Creations dot Net

Mama To 5 Blessings dot Com

Fingerprints On The Fridge dot Com

The Homeschool Village dot Com

Raising Mighty Arrows dot Net