Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tot School-The Desert

E is 32 months

This week in tot school we learned about the desert.  Here are just a few of the things we did this week.  We are using the lesson plans from 2 Teaching Mommies, my sister site.  I co-author it with Madonna from A Mommy Talks, and you can see more pictures of the activities in the unit at her blog. 

Language Arts Concepts:
This week we talked about the letter C.  We made this C for Cactus sheet and made it a sensory activity also.  I took some green construction paper and drew a cactus and a a block C on it. 100_1092100_1098
I gave E some green tempra paint that I mixed salt into.  This made it really gritty.  E used it as finger paint and covered her C and cactus with it.  After it dried I cut it our and glued it to the orange paper.  E loved the using the paint, and we talked about how a real cactus is prickly, kind of like our painted cactus was. 

Math Concepts:
We used this Desert Graphing Book and counting manipulatives to count desert animals and plants.  E really liked this, but I think it was because we used little gems as our counters.  She wanted to do it again and again!  We are going to have to use the gems more often!  100_1144 100_1146

Science Concepts:
The plan for the week was to make a sensory tub with sand so that we could talk about the desert.  We live nowhere near a desert.  It turns out that its rather difficult to find “desert” items in our environment.  Our sensory “tub” consisted of sand, sticks and rocks.  It ended up that E wasn’t interested in the rocks, and she decided the sticks were for writing.  This kept her busy for a good 40 minutes though, so I’m not complaining. :)100_1157

We explored the desert a little more through pictures.  We used this Desert Powepoint  to talk about the plants and animals you would see in the desert.  E loved it, and we used several times last week.  She liked the fact that she could control the powerpoint with the space bar.  Like any toddler, if she can do it “by self” than she is quite happy. 

We had a Desert Movie Night and made a “tumbleweeds” as a snack.  For our movie we watched “The Ballad of Little Joe” from Veggie Tales.  We also snacked on chips and salsa, one of E’s favorites.  100_1125 - Copy100_1135

Mom’s Favorite:
E doesn’t like working with patterns.  On this particular day, when we tried patterns she put her head down and proclaimed, “Patterns make me sad, Mommy.”  Needless to say,E doesn’t LOVE everything we try in tot school, and if she REALLY doesn’t like it, we stop.  I don’t have a perfect kid who smiles and laughs through every lesson!   100_1091

So, that was our week.  You can find all the lesson plans and materials we used here, at 2 Teaching Mommies.  Be sure and check out what others did this week at 1+1+1=1!

Next week we’re doing lessons about The Farm!  Come back and check them out!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Through the Desert

I went for a walk today.  Normally I walk around a walking track.  Today though I decided to break with routine and walk a different route.  I started walking the paved sidewalk along a busy thoroughfare in our town.  It was overcast and cool.  I enjoyed the change of scenery and started looking around. 

Across the street from where I was walking the ground has been broken for a new subdivision.  The land, once green and flourishing, is now brown and broken.  Its rather depressing in appearance.  Just beyond the dry ground though was the greenest field I have ever seen.  A ray of sun had broken thorough the clouds and was shining on the field.  It was green and full of life.  If you wanted to get to that field from where I was standing though, you would have had to go right through the brown and dry places. 

It was one of those moments that I know God made just for me.  Our memory verse this week in tot school comes from Deuteronomy 8:15.  “He will lead you through the vast desert, that thirsty and waterless land,” and this was the perfect visual. 

So often in our Christian walk we are asked to go places and do things that don’t make sense rationally.  For seasons of our life it seems that we are just wandering, tired and broken, in the desert.  We have to remember though that He is leading us.  We might not know where, but we know that He is faithful, and if we follow Him we will be led through that thirsty and waterless land to pastures of plenty. 


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tot School-The Ocean

TotSchool2E is 31 months 

We had a lot of fun this week learning about the oceans.  E really got a kick out of this unit.  So far, out of all the units we have done this was by far her favorite.  Its such a joy to see her having fun learning. 

These are just some of the things we did this week.  You see more pictures and learn more about what we did from Madonna at A Mommy Talks

Language Arts Concepts:
This week we worked on an activity inspired by the letter creations you can find at No Time for Flashcards.  We created this O for Octopus.  We used the letter O for a template and glued on 8 paper legs.  We glued on cheerios to represent ‘suckers’ on the tentacles.  E loved making her octopus and proudly dubbed it ‘Ozzy’, after our tub spout cover, which is also “Ozzy the octopus”.

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We practiced beginning writing skills with this writing bag.  Its a ziploc bag filled with tempra paint, but you could also use tinted shaving cream or tinted pudding.  100_1051
We also read lots of books.  Here were some of our favorites. 


Math Concepts:
We used goldfish and this goldfish measure game to practice measuring.  E liked it and didn’t eat a single goldfish.  She practiced more restraint than her mommy.  :)   


In addition to measuring we made counting urchins.  We rolled play-dough into balls and used counting cards to place the right number of toothpicks in the play-dough.   

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Science Concepts:
I filled a small plastic shoe box with tap water and let E test some toys to see if they would sink or float in fresh water.  Afterwards we put in some sea salt (a lot of sea salt) and tested the objects again.  Some of them floated, others sank.  E just really liked playing in the water.  This was by far her favorite of the week.


We used this Ocean Power-point to go on a virtual field trip for family night

Mommy’s favorite:

Here is my favorite pic from the week.  For all this weeks lesson plans and printables, all for FREE, you can visit 2 Teaching Mommies.

You have a couple more days to enter my giveaway!  Be sure and check it out. 

As always, be sure you stop by 1+1+1=1 to see what others did this week!  


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Big God


I have a friend named Sarah.  I truly cannot tell you how much my life has been blessed by this sweet woman.  Sarah was a mentor to me when I was in college, so needless to say, I’ve gotten more out of our friendship than she has. 

Sarah is such a joyful woman.  I admired her, and in good times and bad she was quick to point out to me that we have a Big God.  In fact, for me, the saying is synonymous with Sarah.  So often when I sought her council her reply was “We have such a Big God”.  College boyfriend dump you?  Don’t worry, we have a Big God.  Trip and fall in front of your ENTIRE sociology class?  Its all good-we have a Big God.  Finances?  Parents?  Future?  Its all in control.  We have a Big God.

Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have a very good concept of how Big my God was.  My God, sadly, often fit in the shoebox of my own preconceptions.  He was limited.  I think Sarah was hoping that if she said it enough I would believe it.   Only time and experience, however, have forced me to except that I too have a Big God. 

When we read in Isaiah 40 verse 12 that God holds all of the oceans in his hands we get a pretty good concept of just how big God is.  The waters in our seas were measured in his palms.  We need to remember just what it means when we say we have a Big God.  There is nothing, no nothing, in this world, or even this universe, that will not bow to His power.  And yet, this Big God that we have loves us.  Us; little, insignificant, stiff-necked, stubborn, and stupid us.  Not only does He love us, but He would do anything for us, even die. 

Sometimes I feel like God has to show me over and over again just how Big He is.  Like Sarah, I think that he’s hoping if he shows me enough I will finally start BELIEVING Him, rather than believing in Him.  Every time I feel in over my head I have to remind myself that God is bigger than ___________.  Maybe today you need to do the same.  Maybe you just need to remember that nothing takes Him by surprise.  Maybe you need to remember that everything bows to Him.  Whatever it is today, lay it down.  Lay it down, and when you do tell you self, “We have a Big God.”

This devotions has an accompanying devotion for kids.  You can find it on my sister site, 2 Teaching Mommies.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

With The Windows Down

imageWhen I was a kid I spent a countless number of hours confined to the backseat of Buick with my two brothers.  My parents were big road trippers, and we, being young and defenseless, often had little say in where we would drive and how long it would take.   Think the Griswold’s in Vacation.  That was us. 

Our Buick was NOT air conditioned.  The windows were always down, and I used to believe that if you spoke directly out the open window no one could hear what you said.  It created a mythical cone of silence in my mind, and as a kid I would take complete advantage of the cone.   I would sing out the window at the top of my lungs, convinced that no one could hear me.  I would sing Mariah Carey songs.  I would make songs up and sing them.  I just liked to sing, convinced that no one was hearing me. 

Time passed.  The Buick was traded in for a nicer car with air conditioning and the windows stayed rolled up.  I forgot about the cone of silence. Until....

One evening my family and I were reminiscing about all of the long car rides we took in the Buick.  My mom, laughing so hard she was crying, brought up my singing out the windows.  My face went beat red.  I NEVER knew that they had ALL heard me.   

"Why didn't you say anything?!"  I asked.

"We just thought you liked to sing!  You didn't know we could hear you?"  she said, and then everybody started laughing.  Everyone but me.

I found out that day that no matter how loud the wind is blowing, someone knows what is going on.  

Sometimes I think we treat our sin like singing with the windows down.  We are convinced that what we do and, don't intend for others to see or hear, stays a secret, even from our heavenly Father.  Dear one, know that God sees and hears even our darkest actions and thoughts.  They are no secret from Him, and they don't have to be.  He knows about our sin, and in grace He sent His son to take our place.  Confessing our sin brings us closer to Him, because we know that even though nothing is hidden from Him, he loves us, and whatever song we're singing, He wants to hear it.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tot School-My Home, My Family

E is 31 Months

Here is a little bit of what we did this week!  Our full unit and lesson plans can be found on my sister site 2 Teaching Mommies.   There are more pictures there, too!

Language Arts:
We worked on several things this week in tot school.  We did not focus on a specific letter, though.  We worked on this beginning spelling activity.  I printed off the spelling lids from Confessions of a Homeschooler and we worked on matching them with the names of our family members.
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E loves to scribble.  We tried to focus our efforts this week and worked on a beginning writing activity.  Still scribbles, but we’re moving in the “write” direction.  HA! (Horrible pun, but I couldn’t resist!)  100_0996
We also read a lot of books this week!  Here are some favorites!


One thing we worked on this week was sorting.  We sorted this printable family by sizes.  We put them in three sets to represent big, medium, and small.  E wanted to line them up, so she did!

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Social Studies Concepts:
We talked about the routine that E has in 0ur house.  We made this Daily Routine poster with some images we got from the internet.  E remembered her nap time in our day sequence.  Mommy did not.  At least SHE knows what we’re supposed to be doing!

We also talked about the fact that our home was in a neighborhood.  We went for a walk as a family and played neighborhood bingo.  She like yelling “BINGO!” and taking a stroll around our neighborhood. 

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Again, this is just a sampling of what we did this week.  To see some
other activities featured in the “My Family, My Home” unit you can visit Madonna at A Mommy Talks.  She co-authors 2 Teaching Mommies with me and has whole different perspective on our week and this unit. 

You can get this weeks lessons and printables here. 

Check out my current giveaway if you would like the chance to win some tot school tools, and be sure and see what others are doing at 1+1+1=1!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kroger Savings Event!

Ok, so I got out my coupons last night (its been a long week folks) and finally sat down to look at my Kroger add.  In case you didn’t know, Kroger is having an “Add Up the Savings” event, and some of the deals are really AMAZING.  You combine these great deals with some coupons, and you have the makings of some really CHEAP food items.  Here are some my favorite deals, but you’d have to go grab these today or tomorrow.

To qualify for the sales price I list you have to be 8 participating items.  These items can be mixed and matched.  Remember that at Kroger, coupons up to $.50 are doubled! Here is what I was able to get:

Wanachi Frozen Stir-Fry Meals: $4.99
(used 2$1.50/1 coupons from here )=2/$7  

Fruit Roll-Ups: $1.49
(used 1 $.50/2 coupon from here)=2 /$2

U by Kotex: $2.99
(used 1 $1/1 coupon from here) =$1.99 a box

Hamburger, Tuna or Chicken Helper: $.89
(used 2 $.75/3 coupons from here )=6/$.64 a box!

General Mills Cereals: $1.48
(used 2 $1/2 coupons from here )=4/$.98 a box!

Bumble Bee tuna: $.49
(used 1 $.50/1 catalina coupon from Kroger) =2/FREE after doubling, but alas, unless you have a coupon from Kroger, you can’t get this…sorry!  

Yoplait Delights Yogurt: $1.79
(used 3 $.50/1 coupons from here. but you’ll need 2 computers, other wise, print 2 coupons) =3/$.79 a box after doubling

Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls: $1.19
(used 1 $.40/2 coupons from here )= 2/ $1.60

SoBe lifewater: $.49
(used 1 BOGO coupon from here, and you have to play the game!  If you use the back button on your browser you can print 2 of these, but I didn’t because I forgot)= 2/$.49  with 2 coupons you can buy 4/$1!  


My Total: $24.63!!!

If you buy the quantities I listed, you’ll meet the 8 item limits and get the sale price on everything!  A lot of Betty Crocker items are on sale, so check your coupons, you might have some great deals at your fingertips!  For a complete listing of what is on sale this week at Kroger you can go here and find your weekly ad. 

Happy Shopping, and happy saving! 


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Serve the Lord

“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
J0oshua 24:15 image
I have seen this verse on various household paraphernalia, you know, your decorative serving platters, door plaques and key plates.  Its a seemingly gentle exhortation, a pledge of allegiance if you will, to your faith.  If you dig a little in Joshua though, you quickly see that this is not a gentle push, its a call to lead by example.  

Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land.  You would think that after having been led through the desert and provided for that the Israelites would be faithful to their Lord and savior.  You’d have to think again though.  They were a hard headed bunch.

The people of Israel had trouble deciding who they wanted to serve.  Having come into Canaan from Egypt the Israelites had quite a few gods to choose from.  Canaan had its own set of gods, and the Lord was being abandoned by His people.  When Joshua says that he and his household will serve the Lord, he is telling the people of Israel they need to choose who they are going to serve. 

Are we much different in this day and age?  Our homes, and our children, are often under siege.  There are a lot of things we can choose to serve.  Money.  Entertainment.  Appearances.  There are too many things competing for our allegiance, and we have to lead by example.  We need to show our children that in a world that serves many masters we have made our choice, and that we will serve the Lord. 

Additional Resources:
Children’s devotional on this verse


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tot School Toys Giveaway!

Ok, so this is my FIRST giveaway!  YAY!!  I am giving away a collection of toys and tools that you can use with your little one, with or without tot school!  You can win all the following:

100_1022(Pictured: A 26 piece alphabet puzzle, a 24 piece number puzzle, a 24 piece puzzle labeling the senses, and 2 books, one on the Polar Regions, and the other on Sea Creatures. You'll also receive a Body Puzzle with 24 pieces) 
All of these tools will work very well with some upcoming units at 2 Teaching Mommies!
There are three ways to enter:
  • Follow The Belly of the Whale publicly through Google Friend Connect
  • Like The Belly of the Whale on Facebook
  • Tweet or Share my website with others.
Please make sure you leave a comment letting me know how you decided to follow me.   You can get an entry for each of the above, and if you do all three then you will get an EXTRA entry!

Don’t forget to leave your email address in the comment, so I can notify you if your the winner. (Leave your email or make sure I can see it through your profile, so I can contact you if you are the lucky winner. The email addresses that I collect for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner, and will never be given to anyone.)

This giveaway is now closed.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Savings!

Ok, so I am going in a whole new direction with Sunday Savings.  Each Sunday, after the coupons for the week come out, I am going to do my best to spotlight the ones I like best.  This means that what I score, you can score.  

Here is what I was able to get tonight at Walgreens:

100_1014So, I used the Walgreens deals listed below, and I was able to use my Register Rewards to get the rest of the items above.  :)   Thanks to Hip 2 Save I was able to find FREE Secret Deodorant at Walgreens. 

Keep your eyes out for this deal! 
The way it works:
Secret Soothing Effects Deodorant on Clearance: $2.29
Get back a $3 Register Reward (which is like a gift card for you next purchase)image

 Also this week at Walgreens:
Dial NutriSkin Body Wash 16 oz. $3.99 = $3 RR
Use the $1/1 coupon found here
Final Cost FREE!

Bausch & Lomb Bio True Multi-Purpose Solution 4 oz. $4.99 = $4 RR
Use the $1/1 coupon found here
Final Cost FREE + a $1 moneymaker!*
*Some stores have $4/1 coupons on nearby tearpads. Keep your eyes peeled!

And here is what I am looking for at Target:
Scotch Tape on sale for $0.50 each
Use the $1/3 coupon from the 8/8 Smart Source insert
Final cost ONLY $0.50 for 3 Scotch Tapes– just $0.17 per tape!

Post It Sticky Notes $1.00
Use the $1/1 PDF coupon found here
to score FREE sticky notes!

Again, you need to check out Hip2Save and Money Saving Mom to get the scoop on some more GREAT deals going on this week.  Happy couponing!