Saturday, September 7, 2013

What's in the Busy Box #5

This is our fifth and final box, for the time being. So far she has gotten bored of them, so I won't be updating the boxes until she does. At which time, I will gladly share the new boxes! 

It is quite possible, that this box was Emmelyn's favorite one! Probably because of the beads!

Our 5th Busy Box contained: Pipe cleaners, pony beads, ocean puzzle, small erasers, magnetic shapes, two tweezers, and Usborne's Max and Millie Start School book. As always, the metal cookie sheet is next to the busy boxes to be used for all of them. 

As I said, this was her favorite part of the box! She played with the beads for nearly an hour. We made bracelets and a necklace!

They used the tweezers to pick up the small erasers. This is still hard for her to do, maybe because of the size of the erasers, they're a little big. She finds it easier to pick up the pom poms and smaller items like that. (I found the erasers at the dollar store)

They also enjoyed making patterns and pictures out of the shapes on the cookie sheet. (Shapes were found at the dollar store)

Thank you for checking out all of our busy boxes! I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

What's in the Busy Box #4

I apologize for the delay in sharing our fourth busy box! I don't get on the computer often, unless I really need to, so I sometimes forget to update my blog.  We played with our fourth box a while ago and just like the other three before, it was a success!

Box #4 includes a dress up puzzles, finger puppets, Usborne Very First Words Bedtime book, measuring cups, two tweezers, and pom poms for her sensory item. 

She LOVES her finger puppets! I bought some of them at Ikea and some here on

And who doesn't like to play with pom poms! She had fun filling her measuring cups and pouring them out.  Afterwards she played with her puzzle for a while. 

And then her sweet brother finished up some of his school and offered to read her the book that was in her box. Bonus, he was practicing sight words! He's an excellent reader!

Afterwards they just played together and enjoyed the box. Stay tuned for our 5th busy box!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What's in the Busy Box #3

It is time to share with you our third busy box! 

Our third box's theme is all about letters! In this box I have included our alphabet puzzle,  two books, magnetic alphabet pieces, a measuring cup, measuring scoop, two tweezers, cotton balls as our sensory item, and some plastic cups. The cookie sheet is always next to the bins, for use.

My daughter loves the cotton balls and actually calls them "marshmallows." Too cute! She enjoyed scooping the "marshmallows" and filling the containers. 

Once she had her fill with the cotton balls, she wanted to do the puzzle.

She adores the Usborne's Lift-the-flap Word Book and so do I! What a great learning tool! In the first picture, she would lift a flap and find the corresponding picture on the left page. On the second picture, under the flaps of the children are words for what they are doing. On the bottom are those words again, when you lift those flaps you will see a smaller picture of children doing those actions. 

That's if for our third busy box, stay tuned to find out what's in the next ones! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 12, 2013

What's in the Busy Box #2

Thank you for stopping by to check out our second busy box! If you missed our first busy box, check it out here!

 This box's theme is "Numbers!" Again, we have a puzzle, two books, and a sensory item, in this case it is rice. Which is very messy, but you can pick it up and vacuum the rest. No big deal. Our classroom carpet is old and low grade, so it's easy to clean up. Most of her mess stays on the cookie sheet. We also have flash cards in this bin, just because I have them, but we never use them. She does like to play with cards, though. I have included magnetic numbers (Dollar Tree), Counting Bears, Tweezers, cups for sorting, and a small strainer. (10pk of cups and strainer also found at Dollar Tree.)
One of the books I have included is this Lift the flaps Counting Book. (I am an Usborne consultant and love their books for homeschool!) This book is great and we both love it!

 She first started using the cups for sorting her bears by colors! (There are six colors to the bears, but the orange and red are very close and it's hard for her to tell the difference at this point, so she ended up combining them.)

And then she saw the rice!! The cups became great scoops and the bears went for a swim in the rice! Her brother thought this was fun, so he joined in. 

It wasn't long before all the bears were in the strainer, taking a swim. 

And there you have it, our second busy box. 

Stayed tuned and I'll share the rest of our busy boxes, soon!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What's in the Busy Box #1

Today, I will be sharing with you what is in our first busy box. These items will all be rotated out every few weeks, or if I find she's bored with them.

Box one is a "Farm Theme" box! She was very thrilled to see this box, yesterday. She had no idea I was making these for her. Now the barn is something I made for them earlier this summer and does not go inside the box. I just bring it down for her to play with.

Each of my five busy boxes will include one puzzles, 1-2 books, one container of sensory items (in this case, rocks) and two large tweezers. One for her and one for myself or her brother to play along with her, if needed. The tweezers were found on amazon, here and the farm animals are these. The rocks we are using as a sensory we found at the Dollar Tree, as well as, the erasers and little mickey character figures. She was VERY excited about Mickey being in this box. I know, not really farm related, but I figured she could have them ride the animals or work on the farm.

The tweezers are great to practice those fine motor skills! She practiced picking up the erasers and rocks, which were kind of slippery. Next to where I store the busy boxes I keep this cookie sheet (Dollar Tree) to help contain any messes. Plus some boxes contain magnets. 

 After I was done helping my son with science for the day, I sat and read the books to my daughter and we used the characters to make the book more fun. She loved this! 
All in all, this box was a total hit! All of the items in the box, we already had around the house! So, double success! I hope this helps you build your own busy box! Stay tuned for the rest of our busy boxes! Oh, the containers were found at Target for $2.50ish. They were on sale.

Our Homeschool Classroom 2013!

After homeschooling for a year, I was able to get a feel for what worked and what didn't work in our school space. And since then, we've added a bit more stuff to our class! I'd love to share it with you all!  Here is our school room from last year: here and here.

These pictures were taken with my cell phone, so please excuse the quality. 

  Over here, we have our work desk, we all three sit here, it's plenty big enough for us. We keep our paint brushes, and other pencils, pens and such that we use often in the buckets above the table (found at Ikea) Behind the table is our storage space, pictures below.  Not a lot has changed in this first picture, just a few more things on the walls.

In this second picture we now have work boxes (from Ikea) in front of the fireplaces, which was just a waste of space, before. We like this system better than the box we used to have sitting on top of our desk. It creates more space on our desk and my son knows what he needs to do for the day, without asking.
Above the fireplace we have moved our masterpiece wire to stretch across the room. We will hang our weekly artwork up here. I really love this, so when daddy comes home from work he can see what everyone has done that day. We've also replaced the old printer stand and moved that to the kitchen and moved this shelf out of my daughters room to the classroom. It works well in here. The bins hold blocks and big Legos and some other things.  The basket next to the red hutch holds our library books; found this at Hobby Lobby.

Jars are full of little things like beads, googly eyes, tacks, etc. the baskets have scissors, pencils, and big tweezers. On the shelf we currently have our fossils, shells, and shark teeth we found at Calvert Cliffs State Park, in Maryland. 

Inside our storage space, I am using a shoe holder to store our small tools. I clipped pieces of paper on to each pocket as a label. The bottom rows have things for the kids like pencils, pens, markers, etc. The top are things I don't want them messing with. Next to that is a tack with their aprons for messy projects.

On the other side of the storage nook is an Ikea bookshelf that I have categorized our school books in. I absolutely LOVE this! It makes my life so much easier! I can find any book I need in two seconds. On the lower shelves I have Manipulatives. Each basket on the bottom is for either Science, Math, or Arts/crafts. The one closest to the wall is for small recyclables like toilet paper rolls and jars. On the floor there are bigger items, paper bags, boxes and anything else that wouldn't fit.

These are my daughters work boxes that I just finished up! I am pretty proud of them and plan to share them in some up coming blog posts, so stay tuned for those!

Well, that's our 2013-2014 classroom so far! We started our school year on August 1st. Have you gone back to school, yet?  

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kitchen Remodel for $350!

After living in our house a year, we finally got around to adding some color to our brown, brown, and more BROWN kitchen. 

It was a time consuming project, I'm not going to lie. But, to tell you the truth, I really thought it would be a lot harder than it was!

When we first moved into our house, I told my husband that I would like to just paint the cabinets and that I could do it for a couple hundred bucks. Everything was new, why rip it out. Besides, this isn't our forever home, since we're military. We just need to make it nicer and easier to sell in 4 years. (Three, now) He wasn't really digging that idea. I humored him and we went to Home Depot and priced out what he would liked done to the kitchen... it would cost a few THOUSAND dollars... like probably 8k at least. Yea, not happening.

Eventually, he came my way. As usually! We set out to redo our kitchen after my daughters second birthday in early April. It took us about two weeks to finish, because we were working during my husbands weekends. So all-in-all, about 4-5 days of work. LONG days of work. Totally worth it though!

We started out by taking all of the doors off the cabinets. We labeled the doors, while doing so with sticky notes. But, by the end half of them had fallen off. I tried to keep the sticky notes with the doors, still, but my husband had stopped trying, so that was fun...

Start out by finding yourself a cute little helper!

At this point in the game, I was starting to become a little overwhelmed by all the doors.

Side note: I painted the fronts first, I would recommend painting the backs first. Because I had to touch up the fronts on some of these, I don't care about the backs as much as the fronts...

I painted the doors with three coats of paint on the fronts and two on the backs. Afterwards, I did three coats of polyurethane.   We did the same thing for the cabinets.

In this picture, you can see the light fixture. We had discussed replacing it, as well. But, for now, I just painted it white. I actually like it like that. But, if this was our forever home, I'm sure we'd replace it and the counters. Which are actually really nice corian counters. I just don't like the color.

One thing I absolutely hated about these cabinets was the lack of a knob or handle! Especially on the long drawer in the island. I was always bending or breaking my nails on that one. So, we drilled holes into all the cabinets and drawers and added knobs.

After reattaching the doors, we had to wait a while for our back splash to arrive. We ordered it from Lowes, and I just love it! I decided I wanted a blue and white themed because of my hutch in the kitchen and the chalk board frame, both of which are a blue color. It all pulls together, nicely!

While we waited, we painted our walls a nice stone grey.

Once the tile arrived we started marking out the tile mounters and getting them ready to place the tiles. My husband had to leave for a work meeting and boy scouts with our son on this day, so I ended up doing most of this myself. I tell you what, I never would have thought I was capable of laying tile before this project!

Before grout.

Now, here's for the fun part, the REVEAL! Now, keep in mind.. for these first few pictures, we moved the old stove over to the MIL suite and moved that stove over to our side. For some reason the stove over there was nicer and it just happened to match our stuff. The last picture is the complete package!

Here is again, before!

And after!

Notice the light fixture is now painted white. Blends in and out of sight.
 Still need to spray paint that light fixture. And I have added a few coat hooks under the wall vent to hang our aprons on.

So, this isn't the BEST picture, but here it is with the other stove moved in. I've added a few little changes here and there, as far as decorations go.

 I love my kitchen a whole lot more, now!

Here is the break down of what everything cost us:

White paint- $20
grey paint- $46 (two cans)
Poly- $4
Knobs- $39
Back Splash- $150
Grout- $29
Tile Mounter- $40
Brushes- $15
Tape- $10
Total: $ 353

And I still have paint and poly left over for future projects!

What do you think?

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