January 31, 2013

Lifting Others

My mother-in-law had a card she was sending the other day with this quote on it.  I really, really like this!  It couldn't be more true.  Aren't you grateful for those people in your life who help you do these things?  I know I sure am!  Who do you know that needs a little lift?  
Click here to print it. 

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January 30, 2013

DIY Cupcake Liner Organizer

Some of you out there may be wondering if cupcake liner  organization and storage is really something worth discussing. To most, probably not.  To me it's a bit of a necessity.  I tend to collect cupcake liners like I do writing tools.  So, storage and organization are key for me.

On Monday, I posted my DIY tin can organizers.  Today we're going to use oatmeal containers.  They're the perfect size for storing all your cute cupcake liners.  And if you have more liners than you can count, don't worry because you can fit about 20 stacks of liners per container!

Besides my oatmeal container, (I used a Kroger brand 18 oz. oatmeal) I just used scrapbook paper, ribbon, and a tissue paper flower I made.  I just taped the paper and ribbon on in the back, but did use some hot glue for the flower.

So easy, so cute, and so functional (for cupcake liner collectors like myself).  See how the liners sit perfectly in the container?  I LOVE it!  

The profile isn't quite as cute as the front (somewhat reminiscent of those fun 9 month pregnant profile pictures), but at least you can see the ribbon from this view.

Of course you can use the oatmeal container for anything you'd like to store, or give away.  My mom used to put the yummy honey popcorn inside these and wrap them in wrapping paper for neighbor gifts.  Endless possibilities!
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January 29, 2013

More Reading Strategies

I did a post on some tips for helping young readers last week, and I said I'd have some more ideas this week.  Well, here they are.  These are tools you can teach your reader to use any time he/she doesn't know a word.  A lot of times the reader will stop at a hard word and do nothing.  Then what do you do?  Often times it's hard to know how to help.  Once you've practiced these strategies over and over, your reader will have several options to try!  The idea is to help your reader do these independently, so even if you're not right there to help, your reader will know what to do.

Here are some of my favorite strategies to help young readers.

*Look at the picture
  Don't ever be afraid of letting your child "cheat" (it's not) by using the picture to figure out a word.  Pictures carry meaning, and in most beginning reading books, the pictures are there to help!  When your child looks at the picture, it demonstrates that he/she understands the picture is related to the words.  How smart!  This is often the easiest strategy for young readers.  You can learn a lot from a picture.

*Say the beginning sound
Saying the beginning sound is a simple way to get your reader headed on the right track for a tricky word.  At times, your reader won't even have to sound out the rest of word if the beginning sound is there.

*Look for a little word in a big word
Sometimes a big unfamiliar word can be really overwhelming to look at (I still experience that).  Ask your reader to look for a small word (or part of a word) that they can see hiding inside the big word.  Breaking the big word down into smaller familiar parts makes a big new word much more manageable. 

*Sound it out
This is probably the strategy most parents go to when helping their child read.  This isn't a bad strategy by any means, and often times is the best one.  It can also be a disaster (try to sound out the word 'could').  Just don't let you child get hung up on thinking this is the only way to figure out a new word.  Let your reader know this is one of many strategies to try.  When your child reads, look for words that are easy to sound out (sit, camp, red,...) and have them try this strategy on them.

*Skip the word, then go back and reread
This strategy is a bit more advanced than the others, but can make all the difference.  As your child reads, have he/she hum the tricky word and keep going to the end of the sentence.  At the end of the sentence, ask, "what would make sense there?".  Once the child knows, have he/she go back and reread the sentence with the correct word.  
Here's an example:
'The siren (tricky word, so hum it) on the fire engine was loud.'  
After reading the sentence, ask what would make sense here.  Now horn would make sense, but don't forget to say the beginning sound as well.  Siren would make sense and look right here.
Often times hearing the rest of the sentence can offer all the help needed to figure out the word.  ALWAYS make sure your reader goes back to reread after using this strategy.  Don't let your child think he/she can hum every tricky word. :)

As you teach these strategies, help your reader understand the strategies can be used together, and sometimes one works better than the other.  Often times your child might need to try two or three strategies before a word can be figured out.  Also, once in awhile, it's okay to tell your child a word.  You don't want frustration to be the overall feeling when it comes to reading.  Keep a nice balance between supporting your child as he/she reads, and allowing your reader to work for a word. 
I hope some of these were helpful.  You can print out the strategies here.  Happy reading!
Here's your quote for today.  You can print it here.

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January 28, 2013

DIY Tin Can Organizers

Look what I found on Pinterest the other day.  Isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen?  I instantly fell in love with the quote, the lettering, design, and especially the coloring.  You can find it and purchase it at Red Autumn.  

After seeing it, I wanted to start adding greens, oranges, and pale blues everywhere!  Then I decided everywhere probably wasn't a very practical scale, so I settled on something small.  

I've had tin can organizers sitting by our computer for quite some time now, and they were in need of a facelift.  They were the perfect place to start!

My Tips for Covering Tin Cans 
1.  Use cans with a rim on the top and bottom.  I like the look of the rim on top and bottom because it gives the can a finished look.
2.  Cover the outside of the cans with fun scrapbook paper, but don't forget the inside.  I usually just use a plain color to line the inside of the can.
3.  Measure your scrapbook paper, cut it, then just tape it in back (I even tape the ribbon).  I use tape because I change my cans so often, and tape is really easy to get off.  I'm not too fussy what the back of my cans look like, because no one sees them.  The tape does actually give a nice clean, clear finish however.
4.  Embellish, embellish, embellish!  Add ribbons to the tops, bottoms, middles, add flowers, letters, words, whatever fits your fancy.  It's fun to see the transformations!

I store pens, pencils, keys, headphones, small sticky notes, a tiny stapler, and anything else that needs a cute place to stay. 

You may be wondering why I have a picture of white beans in my collage.  Well, they're the perfect tool for keeping your pens and pencils standing up nice and pretty.  I dump a bunch of them in the bottom of the can, and then nestle the pens and pencils inside.

And what are cute color coordinating cans without matching pens and pencils?  I may have a bit of a problem when it comes to cute writing tools.  I've been that way ever since I can remember.  Michaels is the BEST place for cute, inexpensive pens and pencils.  I found all of mine at Michaels in their 2/$3 bins.  I think I buy at least two packs every time I go to Michaels, but it does pay off.  I had enough of every color that I didn't have to buy a single new pen or pencil for my cans.  I had blues, greens, and oranges just waiting to be used.  
Now I need to find another place to add these fun colors.  I think pillows might be next.

Linking to these parties & Savvy Southern Style.
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January 25, 2013

Reading Strategies

We've been doing a lot of reading at our house lately.  My twins are in kindergarten, and most of their homework consists of reading every day.  They LOVE it, and I love doing it with them.  It's nice to have my teaching experience when we sit down to read together.  

I also know reading homework can be a bit frustrating at times.  Sometimes your child doesn't want to do it, and sometimes you may not be sure how to help.   I can promise whatever help you are giving is making a difference.  Just the time spent doing it will be beneficial, but if you're looking for a little extra help, maybe these reading strategies will come in handy.  Here are three questions we would always use in first grade to help with those tricky words. 

If your child reads the word 'hat', but the word is really 'cap' you can ask, "does that look right?" 'Hat' would make sense, but it not only has to make sense, it has to look right.  Have your child look at the beginning letter of the word.  The beginning letter is 'c'.  Ask your child if 'hat' looks right when the beginning letter is a 'c'.

If your child reads the word 'wat' for the word 'what' you can ask, "does that sound right?"  'Wat' looks right, but does it sound right?  You can discuss how 'wat' is not a real word, and it doesn't sound right.  Then ask your child if he/she knows a word close to 'wat' that would sound right.

If your child reads, "the snake likes in a hole,"when the sentence really says, "the snake lives in a hole," you can ask, "does that make sense?"  It looks right, but it also has to make sense.  Ask your child what would make sense in this sentence.

That's a very brief explanation of these strategies, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what you can do to help your beginning (or any level) reader.  Just remind your child what is being read has to always, look right, sound right, and make sense.  

Check back next week and I'll have some more strategies for when you child comes to a word and just sits there.  Sound familiar?  There are several strategies you can teach your child to use when he/she doesn't know a word.

Click here  & here to print out the three reading strategies. 
 Happy reading!

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January 24, 2013

Typed Embellishments (Inserting Special Characters)

Last week I did a post on typing in circles by inserting special characters.  Well, here's another fun and easy way to insert special characters.  
I call them swirls, for lack of a better word.  These make great embellishments for anything you type.  You can follow the same steps I used here, but don't use the GungSeo font.  The fonts you will need to look for are listed in the pictures below above each set of "swirls".

These are only a few of the swirls available.  Go ahead and scroll through each font to see all the possibilities.  
Here's one way I used the swirls to embellish one of my favorite quotes.  They add just the perfect touch, don't you think?  

Linking up to these parties & Savvy Southern Style.
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January 23, 2013

Quinoa-Pumpkin Seed Granola & Greek Yogurt

I mentioned my boys and I were headed up to grandma and grandpa's for the long weekend.  Well, we went and had tons of fun sledding, playing Pit, eating, and watching movies.  My sister came up too.  She always brings great new recipes to try.  This time, she found a recipe for Quinoa-Pumpkin Seed Granola in the January 2013 issue of Better Homes & Garden.  I would have never given this recipe a second look, but I'm sure glad she did!  It's amazing!  I was eating it by the handful as a snack, but my favorite way to eat it is on Greek yogurt with dried cherries.  My boys even ate this up.  You have to give it a try!  It's full of healthy ingredients, and so delicious!  It tends to look a bit like birdseed, but I promise the taste won't disappoint. 

I used Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Greek Yogurt, and like I stated in the recipe, I didn't add my dried fruit into the granola, I sprinkled mine on top.  Also, if your local grocery store has bulk, go there for most of your granola ingredients (we did).  Bulk is the way to go when you don't need very much of each ingredient.    

Thanks, Melissa for the new satisfying, healthy snack!
You can print the granola recipe here.
Linking up to these parties & Savvy Souther Style.
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January 22, 2013

Honey Popcorn

This recipe takes me back many years to my growing up days in the BEST small town in America- Newton, Utah.  My mom made this popcorn all of the time when I was younger, and I always assumed it was her recipe.  It's not.  She wanted to make sure I give credit where credit is due.  Thank you, Joy Larson.  Thank you for the yummy popcorn and the few extra pounds I've probably put on over the years because I can't stop eating it once I start! :) 

BTW, I used some honey my mom got from my grandma's friend.  It's so fresh and delicious!  The color is darker than the honey you'd buy in the store, so if you popcorn turns out  lighter than the popcorn in my picture, that's perfectly normal.  Happy popping & eating (until you can't stop)!  You can print the recipe here.
Here's your Tuesday quote.  Click here to print it. 

Linking up to these parties & Savvy Southern Style.

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January 18, 2013

Birthday Memory Board Close Up

I shared this birthday memory board over at Or So She Says earlier this week.  I thought it would be fun to give you a run down of everything that's on it.

1.  Birthday cards (always save the cute ones!)

2.  Layered & embellished scrapbook paper

3.  Birthday quotes (go here to print them)

4.  Calendar

5. DIY gift box (click here for tutorial) & glittered card stock balloons 

6. Paper rosette medallion with age on it

7. Banner with birthday hat stickers (stickers from Hobby Lobby)

8.  10 Things I Love About Birthdays (Hobby Lobby)

Here are a few close ups of the board put all together.

I used small and large clothespins to clip everything on.  The darling birthday hats that are attached to the clothespins came in a package from K & Company.  You can click here to buy them.

I love memory boards because anything goes.  These are a few of the things I like to put on mine.  What would you put on yours?  
Have a wonderful weekend!  My boys and I are off to grandpa and grandma's for the long weekend.  Always good times!

Linking up to these parties & Savvy Southern Style.
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