Archives for December 2013

Tot School Gathering Place ~ week 49

Gather together here, gather ideas from other blogs, share your own ideas on your own blog. Browse around at the other posts linked up, leave a few comments if you have time, and be sure to check back to see if your blog was featured!


Sometimes we Mamas are our own toughest critics! We look back on a week that got away from us and focus on what didn’t get accomplished instead of what did! This week as you prepare for the celebration of our Savior and plan meals, school, housework, etc. take some time at night to focus on what DID get accomplished and thank God for it all!

The above thought was inspired by Mama Kaysha over at Memorizing the Moments. I love how she so eloquently wrote of her disappointment over lost time and how God brought to mind a valuable lesson learned during that “lost time” – making it not lost, but priceless!

Memorizing the Moments


I love Mama Charlton’s perspective over at My Spare Time. Despite the fact that it took about five months to complete the first Tot School lesson, she remained positive and loved the time spent with her daughter Meredith. I also totally LOVED the use of marker caps for color matching! Check out the other activities that Tot and Mom enjoyed over the months.

My Spare Time


Mama Alicia, from Teacher Turned Mama, shares how even our best intentions can go awry and make us feel as if we’ve earned the worst Mama award! Read her post to see how she doesn’t dwell on the negative and finds the positive throughout the rest of the week!Teacher Turned Mama



Were you featured?

You are welcome to a button but you certainly don’t have to use it! Totally optional!

Tot School Feature

<center><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="I was featured for Tot School!" src=""/ ></a></center>

Please read this carefully before linking up! This may no longer be the linky for you, so please glance through this list to be sure you want to stick around and link up with us!
By linking up you agree to the following:
  1. A photo and a link to your post may appear in a future Tot School post. You give me permission to choose a photo from the post you link up, and give me permission to use your ideas in my post. I will link back to you, mention your blog, and give you full credit for any ideas choose to share form your post. If you don’t want me sharing photos, your blog, or ideas, please don’t link up.
  2. Your post is a post written specifically for Tot School and not just an idea for tots. It features your own child{ren} in action. This is a community for moms to come together and share their journey with Tot School virtually.
  3. Provide a link back to Tot School within your blog post {you can use this link: or a direct link to the weekly post you link up to} if you link up. If you do not link back to Tot School, your link will be deleted. Link backs on the sidebar, or in a massive “I link up here” page don’t count ~ they are too difficult for me to find and the first thing I look for when verifying links is the link back.
  4. Link up your exact Tot School post {not your blog homepage} if you are unsure how to do that read this!
    Each week I will feature photo{s} and ideas from blogs who link up. Sometimes it may be one simple idea, sometimes it may be a collection based around a concept .

Do you have your FREE

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook?


See the Tot School webpage here!

New to linking up here? Read this first! Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).

On the List ~ Animal Toobs

This is my final On the List post!  It has been fun sharing my favorite items with you, I hope these ideas have been helpful.See what has already been featured: Straws & Connectors, Indoor Energy Burners, Balance Bike, Bean Bag Chair, Letter Construction, Candy Construction Unique Riding Toys, and Foam Blocks!

Safari Animal Toobs

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used, thanks for your support!}

Our tiny animals are one of the MOST played with items in our home. Ladybug is the biggest fan and has loved them since she was aware we had them!  She seriously plays with this collection more than anything else we own.  I am consistently adding to the collection in various ways; Zulily credit, Amazon sales, 50% off coupons at Michaels and gifts from others! 

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I find our animals playing with her in just about every situation you can think of. They are constant companions!

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I also pull specific animal sets in to use for our Continent Box studies {Australia shown below}.

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I also add any animals beginning with our current letter to our Alphabet Basket collection! Below you can see our monkey collection hidden in for our Letter M basket!

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The best way to get a good deal on the Safari Toobs is by using a 40-50% off one item coupon at Michaels or a similar store.  Often the toobs are found on the end caps of aisles.  A normal price for a toob is between $8-11, so with a coupon they are a great price! These little creatures are high quality and have lasted through MASSIVE play at our house for many years. If you have little ones, I definitely recommend building up a collection!

Do you already own an animal collection?

See more gift ideas On the List…

Favorite-Gift-Idea-Straws-and-Connec  Favorite-Gift-Idea-Indoor-Energy-Bur  Favorite-Gift-Idea-Foam-Blocks_thumb

Favorite-Gift-Idea-Balance-Bike5122   Favorite-Gift-Idea-Letter-Constructi[1]   Favorite-Gift-Idea-Bean-Bag62

Favorite-Gift-Idea-Candy-Constructio  Favorite Gift Idea Riding Toys_thumb


{disclaimer ~ no company featured in my “On the List…” posts knew in advance that they would be featured, nor was I paid in any way to include any item.  Although affiliate links are used and some items were once review items, these are completely tried and true personal recommendations.  As you can always see from our photos, we own and use everything I recommend.}

Santa, Elves and Reindeer Coloring

Santa, Elves, and Reindeer Christmas Coloring
The idea behind Just Color! is simple ~ theme packs all focused around coloring. There are mostly coloring pages, and a few coloring activities. The coloring pages are all in one download to make it easier to download and print all at once, in case you have coloring monsters like I do!

I just added a new Santa, Elves & Reindeer Coloring set! My girl LOVES reindeer this year, so that’s why this set was added!

Christmas Coloring ...Santa Elves and Reindeer_thumb[2]

Remember, if you want to make a mini coloring book, you can always scale down PDF files! If you have any problems downloading or printing these or other PDF files, see troubleshooting tips here.

We also have 3 other Christmas Coloring sets…

Just Color Nativity[3] Just Color 12 Days of Christmas s[2] Just Color Christmas[1]

Looking for more Christmas Theme fun?


Birth of Jesus Review

Grapevine Bible Studies The Birth of Jesus

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links used in this post, I also received a free copy of the Birth of Jesus student and teacher eBook}

We have used and loved Grapevine Bible Studies for years!  This year we decided to use the Birth of Jesus mini study for part of our Christmas learning.  We already had the Beginner Level Birth of Jesus Study eBooks and Dianna from Grapevine kindly sent me the Traceable eBook {student and teacher} to review with Ladybug!

I don’t print my manual, I load it into iBooks and use my iPad, as shown below.  I also use my phone with the Bible app ready to go with our verses for the lesson. This helps me stay more streamlined in my teaching and works better for me.

The Birth of Jesus Grapevine Bible Study for Kids


I made each of my kids a mini book with their drawing pages inside.  I printed the beginner pages for my boys {ages 7 and 11} and printed the tracer pages for Ladybug {age 4}

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Each of my kids has a different color rectangle on the cover to easily grab the right one.  I made a few extra colors and left the names off in case you’d like to use them too.

 Download the covers here!

The Birth of Jesus Bible Study Covers

This study is 7 lessons, taking your kids through the events and people surrounding the Birth of Jesus; Mary, Joseph, The Birth, Shepherds, The Temple, The Wise Men, & Herod.

I set my kids up like this each day, using our lap trays from Michaels and our color coded school supply buckets.

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I stand at the dry erase board and teach them from there.  Stick figures make me happy.  Even I can draw them!

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I love how simple this study is, and that it is only 7 lessons.  Yes it is simple, but it is powerful.  The discussions that have stemmed from our lessons so far have been phenomenal!  I am so very thankful we decided to use it this year. It is one of the only things we can successfully learn together with the age range I have {ages 4, 7, 11}.

Christmas Homeschool -1685


My favorite drawing from the study so far is definitely from my oldest son, who manages to make his drawings quite unique! I shared this on Instagram here!

Birth Of Jesus


This particular Instagram post got some questions about how we explain the concept of “virgin” to our young kids.  I answered over in the comments of the Instagram post if you’d like to see!

Birth of Jesus...Mary


It is not too late to use this study this December, since it is only 7 lessons you have plenty of time!  You can purchase it today and get started almost immediately as there is very little prep work!

Home Preschool ~ Letter S

Each week I share 2-3 posts sharing our home preschool learning.  This post is only sharing our letter focused work. If we have a theme of the week, it will be a separate post too.  All of our general play based learning will be in a final weekly wrap up post called, “Learning with Ladybug.”  I am separating out the posts to make them easier for people to find down the road when searching for specific letter/theme activities.  See our entire home preschool plan here!

 Home preschool Letter S

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used in this post}

Her Letter S ABC Basket… 

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Our Letter S Phonics drawer is one of our better drawers.  She had a blast playing with it.

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She loves the day I set out all of the puzzles all mixed up.  She heads right over to fix them all!

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She loves the paint cut and glue crafts from Learn, Create, Love.  This week we made the sea turtle and the seahorse!

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Animal ABC lowercase s is for skunk, we stamped letter S on the S before gluing on the skunks.

Home Preschool Letter S -0943 Home Preschool Letter S -0944 


ABC Find It!

Home Preschool Letter S -1436

Although the cards don’t hide as well, she enjoyed using our colored noodles to bury them in this time!

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Our All About Reading Pre lesson for lowercase s was for sun.  She drew flowers to grow in the sun!

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Our finished Letter S work…Home Preschool Letter S -1479

See more Letter S ideas on our S  is for Pinterest board, and even more ABC ideas on my ABC Ideas board!

image  ABC-Ideas-on-Pinterest43122222


See more theme based printables to go with the Letter S here!


Visit Preschool Corner to see more home preschool families!