Archives for May 2014

Positive Parenting Webinar ~ Coming Soon!

Free Positive Parenting Solutions Webinar 6.11.14

I am excited to welcome back my friend Amy from Positive Parenting Solutions!  You may remember I have hosted a few free webinars: How to Get Kids to Listen Without Reminding, Nagging, or Yelling, and another one called Is Time Out a Waste of Time?

I love hosting these webinars both for YOU and for ME. I am by far NOT the perfectly positive parent and I need a refresher, often!  As we enter into the summer months, things get a bit out of control around here.  This is a GREAT time for a refresher!

If you are looking for help with your positive parenting skills,  I hope you will join me on Wednesday June 11, 2014 at 9pm EST.

{disclosure ~ The webinar is totally free and you will learn a lot from Amy in the hour, I always do!  She does share her program, Positive Parenting Solutions, and will share how to participate in the full course online, which does cost $.  I am paid an affiliate fee for any sales made, which supports my family ~ thank you!}

Here are the official details about our upcoming webinar…

Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling

Tired of the yelling?  Tired of the whining?  Tired of being tired?

You’re not alone.  From toddler temper-tantrums to teenage talking back, parents wonder what it takes to get kids to cooperate.  If you’re tired of nagging, reminding and yelling to get kids to listen – this session is for you!  1+1+1=1 is excited to partner with Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions & TODAY Show contributor to offer a FREE LIVE training webinar on

Wednesday, June 11, at 9 – 10 PM EST.

Discover proven tools for your most frustrating discipline dilemmas including the 5 R’s of Fair & Effective Consequences. This hour-long investment will lead to a lifetime of peace in your home.

All you need is your computer. (No webcam required.)  You’ll see and hear Amy on your screen and you can even ask questions and she’ll make them part of the presentation. Parents RAVE about this session.

Webinar seating will be limited so RSVP today and then kick back and learn from the comfort of your home.

About Amy McCready

Parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions image_thumb4anda"recovering yeller." She is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy reaches a worldwide audience with her Positive Parenting Solutions Online course and is a frequent guest on the TODAY Show and has also appeared on Rachael Ray, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, and elsewhere. In her most important role, she is mom to two teenage boys.

I hope to “see” many of you at the webinar, I will be logged in for it also! There is always awesome live conversation in the chat area below the webinar, it is a great time for us to virtually connect and share our parenting struggles!

Used Curriculum Sale

It’s time to clean off those bookshelves and make room for next year’s curriculum! We have been doing this and are actually almost done!  I am on the fence about a few things though, and am looking forward to this sale!

Next Monday, June 2nd, many of my favorite bloggers will begin selling their used curriculum.  Personally I am not selling anything, but wanted to join with them to make sure you, my readers, don’t miss this!

The Ultimate Used Curriculum Sale-2


If you have a blog and would like to sell your curriculum on your own site you can link up your post.There will be a linky for this and you can join them!

Even if you don’t have a blog you can sell your curriculum by putting your list in a google document and set the share settings to public (anyone can view). You can link the google document url to the linky.

Please remember to state your selling terms clearly on your page.

Just because it didn’t work for one family, doesn’t mean it won’t work for your family. Drop by next Monday for a list of all the curriculum available and link up your curriculum or just shop for your 2014-2015 school year!

Participating Bloggers

Questions? Wait until Monday and see what others do, and if that doesn’t help, email me and I will ask the lady in charge {it’s not me so I am as clueless as you are}!

“Hi! Pizza Man” Kindergarten Literature Unit in Action

Hi Pizza Man Kindergarten Literature Unit Study in Action

Recently we shared about our new  Kindergarten Literature Units and our first set of printables for “Hi! Pizza Man!” We completed this unit in our home and today we want to share our fun with you!  This unit ended up being more fun than I realized it would be, she absolutely loved it!  I am so thankful God led my heart in this direction for her! Our Hi! Pizza Man Kindergarten Literature Unit was a blast!

I love setting up a central area for our theme focus and my daughter loves it too.  I gather our toys and books together and display them the night before we begin our unit. It helps to draw her in and get her excited about our learning time together. I borrow books from the library and also toys from friends to enrich our learning. I gather toys from around the house too {well, actually I send my older boys on a hunt to find things for me}.  You can see some suggestions for what to gather, borrow or buy for this unit here!

The full set-up…

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I divided up our activities into 5 hanging folders, they are behind our You Can Read unit in this basket. I follow a very loose lesson plan and shift things around as needed or desired. I do not stress out at all about what does or does not get done each day.  We just have fun together and learn as we go!

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I tried something new by taking small video clips for you throughout our unit.  Let me know if these are helpful to you.  After speaking and meeting readers at the Teach Them Diligently Conventions I began thinking of more ways I could help people and videos came to my mind.

We spread this unit over 2 1/2 weeks, for 6 days total.  We are in a lighter school mode right now so I was in no rush. I divided this post into days so you could see what we did on each day.

Day One

The set up drew her right in and she loved it!  She was playing and reading her books within seconds!

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After I let her explore on her own for awhile, we read the book together.  We pulled out the animals we have and added them to the story!

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We worked on the 3 part animal cards next, in our small pocket chart!

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Pizza patterns were a hit, she is very into patterns right now!

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She loved the pizza sticker book I got for her.  One side is hers and one is mine.  Can you guess who the picky one is?

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Cutting out pictures and gluing the words that begin with P onto the pizza.

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Here she is reading her completed Letter P words


She loved the Kind Words ~ Rude Words activity a lot.  She has struggled with using polite words with people in the past but is much better now.

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Here’s a small video clip of us doing this activity.

Day Two

Our day began with her entering the schoolroom after fixing her own hair.  I asked if she wanted help with her headband and of course the answer was no. I’m kinda glad she said no, I like this look on her.

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She came in and began playing with her pizza stuff, pretending to eat it and bringing me pizza of course.

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We read the story together and then did our story sequencing activity, which she LOVED!

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Here’s a video of us doing this activity together,  You’ll notice in it she asks me if we can tape it together,  I had not planned on that but followed her lead!  You can see the finished product below in a photo!

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She turned the Make a Pizza craft into a big ordeal.  She divided it up into 4 parts and let all of us choose what we wanted on our piece.  We wrote our initial on what we ordered and she got busy.

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Here’s a video of portions of the process


The finished pieces…{my poor son has poison ivy}Hi Pizza Man -7834


Graphing the pizza toppings…

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Day Three

Day 3 began with reading the book again, but this time she read it to me!  After the first two pages she said she wanted to read it herself!

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After reading we just played pizza together.  The puppies came to the pizzeria and chose their toppings.

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We used the whole, 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4 parts from our pizza fraction game.

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Rhyming words

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Here’s a video clip of us working on rhyming words


We talked again about the character connection and how it related to this Bible verse.  We focused on using gentle words with others and role played a bit with this.  Then she illustrated the verse and wrote the word gentle.

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Here’s her final version…

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We got back out our graph from day 2 and recorded the results.  She wrote all of the numbers by herself!

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We also got out our pizza patterns from day 1 and glued a pattern down onto the long strip.

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Day Four

{this is week 2 of this unit, we did 3 days the first week}

We took advantage of beautiful weather and packed our school bags and headed up to our second story deck for a couple of hours one morning. My oldest son was there and so was my camera and he captured these shots of Ladybug and me reading together.

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She made another pizza {she really likes cutting, gluing and pizza crafts}.

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We did our comprehension questions up on the deck.  She chose the questions out of the bag and I read them to her.

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Here’s a video of her answering the last one she pulled out.


Day Five

{this is week 3 of our unit, we traveled over the end of week 2 so finished up the following week}

We matched animals to their names and sounds…

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She called people and asked everyone in our house what their favorite pizza topping was for her graph.  She really enjoyed this and got to practice her phone skills too.  She even called Miss Yo {Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations}.

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Here’s a video of her calling to ask my mom


She wrote about her favorite animal in the story, with me spelling for her this time.

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What would a pizza unit be without making PIZZA?  She made us all lunch and was so very excited about it!

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A little reading while it cooked…

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Day 6

We were technically done with our unit but she wanted to color pizzas, so I scaled down our Pizza coloring printables and made her a coloring book!

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All of our work from this unit!  She had so much fun and we made great memories together!

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See our printables for this unit here,

our Pinterest board here,

and our book and toy suggestions here!

Hi Pizza Man Kindergarten Literature Unit Printables   Toys and Books to go along with Hi Pizza Man Kindergarten Unit

Hi Mr Pizza Man Pinterest Board

If you blog about this unit will you let me know? 

Leave a link in a comment, email me, or share on my Facebook page?

Spielgaben ~ Is it Worth It?

Recently you may have seen our new blog series, Playful Learning with Spielgaben, We were given the Spielgaben set to review and are honored to have them as a blog sponsor.  Today’s post is a little different and is focused on the overall value to help you make a wise decision for you family.

Spielgaben ~ Is it Worth it

One of the best and most common questions I get about Spielgaben is about the cost.  It is most definitely an investment and most of us don’t have extra money to throw around.  I hope this post helps you decide if it is worth the price for you.  For us personally, the short answer is – YES!

What is included?

Before we go into my thoughts, let me share exactly what you get when you click order.

The current Spielgaben set looks a bit different than mine, this is v3.0.  They update the version frequently which is why you may see different things on different blogs.  The most current set right now contains an addition that I personally don’t have, the peg board and lacing supplies.Speilgaben Complete Package

The set comes looking like this, with wooden trays and a top.  Ours is a flat top, the new set has the top that works with the lacing and pegs addition.

The boxes have handles, and balance nicely.  They are a bit heavy, but I like that since I don’t allow my kids to just dive into it.  I leave ours closed like this when it’s not available for free play.


Here’s images of the inside of the trays. You can read the exact details about each tray here on the Spielgaben website.

Speilgaben Tray 1 Spielgaben Tray 2 Spielgaben Tray 3


Play Guides

In addition to the amazing learning manipulatives, you also get a plethora of digital guides.  These come in an email and you download them yourself.  You can choose to print them or use them on an e device, which is what we do.

Play Guide

There are 4 user guides, called “Spielgaben Play Guides”  Thinks of these as the curriculum manuals.  You can see them in action each month in my Playful Learning with Spielgaben posts.

We have only scratched the surface using the first guide. We have 3 that we haven’t even touched yet, but we will!

Below you can see more details about each digital guide. We are currently working our way through Play Guide 1 {Basic Play}.


Play guide Part 1 (Basic Play) : Focuses on how to play with each Spielgaben set in order to build competence in sensory, fine motor skills, basic math and problem-solving skills. Ideal age group: 3 to 7 years.

Play guide Part 2 (Creative Play) : Focuses on progressing creativity, self-expression and language skills to further develop your child’s brain. Ideal age group: 5 to 9 years.

Play guide Part 3 (Mathematical Play – Arithmetic) : Covers mathematical concepts that your child will learn at school from Years One to Six. It provides a solid basis for understanding arithmetical calculations, measurements. Ideal age group: 7 to 12 years.

Play guide Part 4 (Mathematical Play – Figures) : It covers mathematical concepts such as 2D & 3D figures, angles, weight and volumes that your child will learn at school from Years One to Six. Once your child has mastered all of these concepts shown in these User guides, your child will excel at mathematics and ready to tackle more advanced problems in senior school. Ideal age group: 7 to 12 years.


Worksheet Packs

in addition to the Play Guides there are worksheet packets.  For each Spielgaben set there are 3 worksheet packs. These packs are organized by level, you can see my file below to give you a feel for how many packs there are. Each pack has about 20 pages.

Spielgaben Worksheets


Nature & Instpiration Guides

Two of our favorite downloadable products are the Inspiration Guide and the Nature Guide.  These have provided hours and hours of play at my house.

Spielgaben Inspiration Guide Spielgaben Nature Guide

There are also Story Mats, we personally haven’t used those yet.

We use our Spielgaben set in a few different ways…

  • Guided Lessons {1-3 per week with Ladybug during school year}
  • Free Play {when mom allows the trays to be opened, all kids love to dive in}
  • Nature/Inspiration Guide Play {Ladybug does this a LOT}
  • Mommy Inspired Play {I set up something to draw them in}
  • Along side of other curriculum {especially K’s 2nd grade math}
      I am a visual person so instead of more written lists, I wanted to share a visual list with you. Here are a few images with the different categories labeled for you to see some examples.  If you

click on the photo it will take you to the blog post

    where I explain what we did.

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Now that you know all that is included, and have seen exactly how we use it, here are some FAQ I have gotten regarding the value. Some of these have been posted elsewhere but I wanted to share them in this post too so you don’t have to jump around.

Can’t you just duplicate this with other more inexpensive toys?

This is a question I get and have seen a lot.  Honestly I thought this before I had the set. Now that I have had the set for almost a year, I can definitely say the answer is no. It is a complete learning program, not just another set of toys.  The Play Guides are another aspect that make this set unique.  That’s the short answer.

My question is, now that you’ve used it for 6 months or so, would you personally find it a good investment to buy outright if you had a 3 yr old and 6 yr old, or would you use that money towards other similar “toys” and curriculum?
If I had a 3 and 6 year old, I would buy it if money were not tight, for sure. I understand it is a huge investment so if money is tight, it can be a hard decision that only you can make.
The toys themselves are amazing, and worth so much, but the digital guides are invaluable.  It truly is a full curriculum, not just a set of toys. It takes the guess work out of how to use it in MANY different ways.  Plus you have the amazing benefit of the open ended free play. If you desire only the toys, maybe it wouldn’t be a good investment, but if you desire the guides and having that kind of helpful direction, it is definitely worth it.

I don’t feel the same idea can be duplicated with other various toys and curriculum, but it is an investment so you have to desire something like this {a play based curriculum}.  If you have the money to invest, definitely buy Spielgaben and forget getting other toys with the money. I would gladly give up many of the toys we had before Spielgaben {in fact I have} that are somewhat similar. The other toys have always been just free play toys, but Spielgaben is all interconnected and I love that.

We only use the guides 1-3 times a week, mostly we enjoy the free play.  But the guides have empowered me to introduce concepts to Ladybug that I would never think of {symmetry, open and closed spaces, 3D shapes, etc.}.  I truly enjoy the guides beyond what I even thought I would!

This is a set we will enjoy for years.  I am already excited about using it more for Kindergarten next year with Lili, and I use the manipulatives all of the time for my 2nd grader during math!

Do you use Spielgaben daily?

Yes, almost! Formal lessons 2-3 times a week {during school year}, free or guided play usually several times a day! I actually have a hard time keeping Ladybug away from it, she is in a stage of wanting to sit at our free play area many times per day and often asks me for my iPad for the Nature/Inspiration Guide.

In your opinion do you think it would be worth the money for a 5 and 7 year old.

If I had a 5 and 7 year old, I would buy it if money were not tight, for sure. But, if these are your only kids and you aren’t planning on having more I would think more about the purchase, especially if money is a bit tighter.  I am using it a lot with my daughter who turned 5 in April, and can see us using it for years. She loves this style of learning.  My 7 year old loves it too, I am not using the lessons with him {although I might start next year} I understand it is a huge investment so if money is tight, it can be a hard decision that only you can make.

The toys themselves are amazing, and worth so much, but the digital guides are invaluable.  It truly is a full curriculum, not just a set of toys. It takes the guess work out of how to use it in MANY different ways.  Plus you have the amazing benefit of the open ended free play. If you desire only the toys, maybe it wouldn’t be a good investment, but if you desire the guides and having that kind of helpful direction, it is definitely worth it.

This is a set we will enjoy for years.  I am already excited about using it more for Kindergarten next year with Ladybug, and I use the manipulatives all of the time for my 2nd grader during math!  I think you would get a lot of use out of it, especially if you like the idea of the guides, and your kids would enjoy this type of learning and free play.

Here’s a post from Homeschool Creations sharing specifically hos she is using it with her 4 kids, all 7 and older

Here are a couple more reviews focusing on the value from other bloggers who have reviewed Spielgaben…

Remember there is a special discount for 1+1+1=1 readers…

Spielgaben is offering an exclusive discount to 1+1+1=1 blog readers –

AUD 370 | USD 337 | GBP 200

including shipping to AU | USA | UK, which is over 15% off of the already discounted online price. Prices are approximate depending on conversion rates.  All you need to do to claim your discount is send an email to [email protected] mentioning 1+1+1=1 and you will be provided with a discount coupon!

Please check directly with Spielgaben for current discount available, prices change with version updates and conversion rates.

Tot School Gathering Place ~ Week 72

Welcome to Tot School™ Gathering Place! 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!Tot School Gathering Place Week 72

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all who serve (or have served) our country in the armed forces! Your service has granted us the freedom we have to do what we are doing – teaching our children at home and enjoying each moment! Thank you!

Many of you may be traveling this holiday weekend! It is the perfect opportunity to talk about transportation! Check out Mama Ellen’s ideas over at Cutting Tiny Bites for some fun and creative activities centered on transportation!

Cutting Tiny Bites


With this weekend being to “unofficial” start to summer, bugs may be starting to invade your space! Head on over to Angelicscalliwags to see how Mama Claire helped her crew create a bug observatory.



Sometimes learning has to take place away from home to completely understand certain concepts. Take a peek at Mama Alecia’s post on Learning to Walk to see what Tot J learned while visiting Grandma’s house!

Learning to Walk


Remember to visit our Pinterest board hosting our featured blogs each week! Be sure to follow the board and re-pin ideas you like, it’s a great way to support each other!!

I also created a Tot School Printables Pinterest Board. If you are using Tot School Printables and blogging about it, will you email me with a link to one of your posts and your Pintrest link? I am opening up the board to allow other bloggers to pin their Tot School posts that feature Tot School Printables in action.

Tot-School-Gathering-Place-Pinterest[1]   Tot-School-Printables-Pinterest-Boar

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 chosen to share from your post.
  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: 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).