Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sight Words Practice!

As you all know, my son started kindergarten last week.  They are required to learn a long list of sight words by the end of the year, so I decided to make a game out of learning them!  Not only is he (and my three year-old) learning the words, he has asked me to play it with him every day when he has gotten home from school! He loves it, and I love that he is learning his sight words! 

*These pictures we taken with my phone in the evening, so I apologize for the poor quality.*
This mat was given to my son a few years ago from my mother-in-law.  It came from Home Depot.  I just printed out sight word flashcards from education.com. You could type the words out yourself,  use store bought flashcards or handwrite them. Whatever works for you.  Just place the flashcards on the mat and you are ready to play!  

Taking turns, I call out a sight word and my kids "drive" their matchbox car to the word that I called out.  It's as simple as that, and they love it!  My son also likes to take turns and call out the words to me and I get to "drive".  

You could use this game for math facts, vocabulary words, spelling words, etc.  The possibilities are endless! 

There you have it!  A smart and simple way to teach while playing! 

What learning games do your children enjoy playing?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cascade Container Turned Trash Can for the Car!

Hello!  Today is a big day for us!  My son started Kindergarten *tear*!  I am so excited for him, but I was up half the night unable to sleep because I was so anxious about today.  He however, slept great, had "good dreams" and was so excited about today! I can't wait to hear how his day went when I pick him up in a few hours! 

So...when I am nervous-I can't sleep and when I can't sleep-I start cleaning, organizing, creating, etc.  Last night I made a trash can for my car out of an empty Cascade dishwasher gel pack container during the time I should have been sleeping. I just covered the container with some Con-Tact paper that I had used for another project and it's good to go!  I will add a trash bag so that it does not get yucky on the inside!  I got the idea from a blog post over at Calico and Cupcakes! I just love the end result!  I hope it will help keep my car more clean and organized!  

There you have it!  A smart and simple solution to conquering car trash! 

Would love to hear from you! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Portable Homework Center

Hello!  I just wanted to quickly show you guys what I was up to yesterday.  Back-to-school prep is in full swing around our house.  I have been asking around, and just about everyone I have talked to have their children do their homework at the kitchen table, usually around the time dinner is being made.  I wanted to create something that held all of my son's homework supplies and also something that could easily be put away when he was done.  I originally saw the idea for a portable homework center on marthastewart.com.  This is what I created, and I hope it will make homework time easier around our house!

 I just used a large tri-fold display board, big clips to attach everything and a couple of Command hooks to hang up some flashcards.  Most of the papers came from our Kindergarten Kickoff and are things he needs to know this school year.  The file folder in the center will hold important papers, spelling word lists, worksheets, etc. 

The basket holds all of his supplies he will need to complete his homework. 

A look inside of what's in his basket. 

 Right side!

 Left side! I took a few flashcards and punched holes in them using a hole-puncher.  Then I attached the flashcards using a keyring. This ensures the flashcards stay together.  I hung them up using Command hooks. 

 To help with math homework.

We will use this to practice spelling words.

There you have it! Smart and simple ways to create a portable homework center!

 Would love to hear your thoughts, or any suggestions! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ticket Reward System for Kids!

Hello friends!

It's been awhile!  We have been so busy the past few weeks between beach trips, to family staying with us for a week, play dates, hanging out at the pool, getting ready for back-to-school, my daughters 3rd birthday and the list goes on and on! I have totally lacked in all the organization projects I wanted to accomplish, but that is okay, because we have been enjoying our summer and having fun!  With all this fun though, we have been much more lenient with the kids bedtimes and such and the hubby and I are franticly trying to get back on a good routine this week.  My oldest starts kindergarten next Thursday and I can hardly believe it.  I wanted to share with you all one way we are going to encourage our kids to go to bed on time,  use their manners, etc.

At the end of last school year, I introduced this ticket reward system to my children.  We had been using it until about a month ago.  

It is pretty basic.  There are three boxes.  One for my son, one for my daughter and one that holds the tickets and a pen.  Each time they show exceptional behavior, they earn a ticket.  We write their names on the back of the ticket just so there is never a mixup with tickets.  After the child earns a certain amount of tickets, they receive a reward.  They can also have tickets taken away for poor choices.

I try to target just a few behaviors at one time.  Of course, this can change at anytime to focus on different behaviors that need worked on.  The three behaviors I am going to try to modify the next few weeks are:
Going to bed on time (8:00pm) = 2 tickets
Staying in my bed all night = 1 ticket
Listening the first time = 1 ticket 

15 tickets = ice-cream date
30 tickets = put-put golf
50 tickets = a new toy

I printed off our list and placed it next to our boxes as a reminder of the behaviors we are working on and the rewards they can earn. Notice going to bed on time earns 2 tickets.  This is something we are really going to push the next week.

The kids can also earn tickets for other good behaviors, but these are the main three we are going to focus on for now.  

One thing I also enforce is that my children can't get the reward until they both reach their goal. So, that means no ice-cream date until they both receive 15 tickets.   I find this helps them work together for their goals rather than working against each other.  In the past, I would often hear them encourage each other to get ready in the mornings, etc.  

This works very well for my children, but each child is different, so you have to find what works for your family.  I just wanted to share what has worked for us.  Wish us luck this week as we try to get our kiddos to bed on time.  Tonight was the first night using our reward system again.  So far, so good!

There you have it!  A smart and simple reward system for children.

Would love to hear from you!  What behavior system have you used or are using that works well with your children? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Hello!  I just wanted to pop in and let you know that I might be MIA the next week or so.  We have family coming in town tonight and a fun-filled week planned!  We are trying to squeeze in all the fun we can before its back to school time!  I really can't believe summer is almost over already! 

I have to let you know that I have been a busy bee purging and organizing around the house!  Simplifying has become such an addiction to me!  I love passing our unused items on to others who can use them now, rather than holding on to them and just having it take up space in our home.  There is just something so freeing about going through a closet and finding a garbage bag full of stuff I can get rid of.  Some of you probably think I am nuts, but that's okay with me haha! We still have a lot of clutter that I need to tackle, but I am just taking it one day at a time!  Today alone, I got rid of six garbage bags full of stuff, and it feels pretty awesome, I must say! 

This is my simple system I use when purging!

Stay tuned because I have so much to share with you all!  Have a fabulous week and I will talk to you soon!  

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Organized Child's Closet!

Hello friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  I had a great weekend at the beach celebrating a friend's wedding with my family!  I love the beach, spending time with my family and weddings, so I was a happy girl! 

Before we left for the beach last week, I organized my son's closet.  It cost me nothing since I used things we already had in his closet.  By just reorganizing and purging, I was able to make the space much more user friendly.  

Before I started, I knew I wanted his play clothes, school uniforms and costumes in a place he could reach himself, since they were currently not easily assessable to him.    I really love the end result.  Here is what I did: 

This shelving unit was in my son's closet already, but it was holding books.  The first thing I did was remove all the books.  I divided the books and put some on a shelf in his room, some in my daughter's room, some in my youngest son's room and some in the playroom.  By doing this, I now had a whole bunch of extra space to store his clothes!  Once I decided what I wanted to go in each individual bin, my kids and I made labels with supplies we had laying around the house.  The labels make it really easy to know what is inside each bin.

With my son starting kindergarten this year, I needed a place to store all of his school uniforms in a location he could reach himself.  This turned out to be the perfect spot!

I also wanted a place to store all of my son's costumes in an easy to reach spot. His costumes had been hanging in the back of his closet.  Not only could he not reach them, but he also could not see them. That needed to change since that boy loves to dress up!

These plastic drawers were holding socks, swimsuits, hats, shorts, etc.  I had two of them in his closet, making it very hard to reach one of them since it was pushed to the far side of the closet.  After moving all the books and gaining so much space, the second one was no longer needed.  I plan to use the other set of plastic drawers in my daughter's closet to house all of her costumes and costume accessories! The top two drawers are labeled costumes and the bottom drawer is labeled costume accessories.

I also added some command hooks inside of his closet to hang a few of his masks. My son really thought that was cool!

I completely emptied his closet and purged clothes that were stained or too small.  The clothes that I wanted to keep for my youngest son, I put in a Rubbermaid container and placed it on the top shelf in my youngest son's closet.  The clothes that we kept, I categorized and placed back in his closet. I am pretty pleased with the end result. Everything has a home and you can see everything!

It feels great to be done and more organized in this space! =) 

There you have it!  Smart and simple ways to organize a child's closet! 

Would love to hear from you, how do you organize your closets? 

If you haven't done so already, please like my new Facebook page to stay connected with me and others!  Thank you so very much! 

I linked up to these parties! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sunshine Award!

Hello Friends!  I have some exciting news!  Hilda at From Overwhelmed to Organized was so sweet to give me the Sunshine award last week!  This is my vey first award, and it really is a great privilege to have her supporting my blog!  I am truly thankful for her kindness! 
The Sunshine Award is given from bloggers to bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.  I'm touched that you feel I inspire others through my blog, Hila!  Thank you very much for this award!
So here's how the award works:
First, you should thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.  Next, answer the following questions about yourself.  Then, choose 10 of your favorite bloggers and link their blogs to your post.  Be sure to let them know that you are nominating them for the award.  Last, be sure to copy and paste the award to your blog!
Here are my answers to the questions:

1. Favorite color - Pink!  I have loved the color pink my whole life (and now my daughter loves the color too)!  I even had an all pink 5th birthday party where everyone who came was required to wear pink.  I think I only own maybe one pink shirt today, but I still love the color anyway haha! 
2.  Favorite animal - Horses! I use to ride when I was younger and my mother owns horses today.  

3. Favorite number -  16!  That was the age I was most excited to reach so that I could drive a car. 
4.  Favorite drink - Sweet Tea!  I did not even try sweet tea until I was in college, but once I had it, I loved it!
5.  Facebook or Twitter - Facebook!  I haven’t tried Twitter yet. 
6.  Good book or good movie - Good movie!  I will not watch horror films, but love romantic comedies! 
7.  My passion - My family!  I am a wife and a mother of three and I love my family more than anything!

8. Giving or getting gifts - Giving!  I love giving little gifts to my kids, family and friends.  
9.  Favorite day - Saturday’s! We always try to do something fun together as a family on Saturday’s.    
10.  Favorite flower - Hydrangeas!  They are just so pretty!  
So there are some things you probably didn't know about me.  These awards are a neat way to share things about ourselves that wouldn't necessarily come up in our posts or "about me" pages.  
Here are the 10 blogs that I would like to give the Sunshine Award to (in no particular order):
I find inspiring things on each of these blogs!  Please check out their wonderful blogs and see all the great things they have shared. 
Congrats to all of you.  You deserve it!
Thanks again to Hilda for awarding me the Sunshine Award!