Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Homeschool Preschool In Action

I finally got my act together and got organized!
gives you EVERYTHING you need to get started
 It was helpful for me to see the order to introduce the letters (straight stick first, curved shaped letters later) And there is a number, sight word, and color theme along with each letter lesson!
 Mama's Organization Is Key (she makes it easy!!)
 Here is the wee and slow start I have going for lesson "Ll" staring "This Little Light Of Mine", a Bible memory verse, and cute flash cards!  I got the wall display idea from the RRS web site (I take no credit) And if we had a color ink thingy, it would all be more colorful.  If you'd like to make a 'what we're learning' poster, just fold and tape the bottom of a poster board to make a pocket.  We will take these down each week and put up the new lesson items.  That is why I love having the pocket NOTEBOOK to keep everything stored, for review, and in case I want to use all of this again for my other child. 
So far, lesson 1 has been great!!  We love holding our candle stick cut outs and singing together!  He really enjoyed the art project and he's doing awesome with the whole new idea of sight words.   He struggles with cutting (only because I've made my boys avoid sharp objects at all cost up until now... so it's NEW new).  He JUST turned 4. He knows his letters & sounds, and can write his own name very well now, but we struggle with pronouncing blends.  Our big focus about mid week was to practice saying the words (from the flash cards) and breaking down the phonetician and pronunciation of each blend.

I am very grateful for RAISING ROCK STARS PRESCHOOL because of the Christian Values, Teaching Scripture & Values, Music, and the fact that most of what is offered is FREE.  (You can also choose to join her site and become a member to receive MORE.)
Thanking God for CHECK IT OUT!!!  If you leave a comment, tell her I sent you over... ; )

~ AtlantaMama

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shark Themed Birthday Pool Party

My birthday boy wanted to have a "SHARK PARTY" this year!  A theme he came up with on his own.  So we made plans to swim and I got my creative juices flowing for ideas to make the SHARKS a theme throughout the party.  Here are some SHARK PARTY IDEAS from AtlantaMama:

Rock the SHARK swim wear and Target Dollar Spot hat
Add in some SHARK themed food like 1/2 of a banana with a strawberry fin (with or without the magic shell chocolate)
Great White Shark Cookies (sugar cookies)
The SHARK CAKE is really 4 layers of chocolate chip cookie cakes with layers of butter cream icing in between, topped with chocolate icing - a toy shark - and candles!  It's very rich, yummy, and not on my healthy eating list.  He helped me with the whole process & he was super proud to have a 3D SHARK CAKE!!  I recommend baking about two - two & 1/2 cups of cccd and then cutting out your shape right when you pull it out of the oven... it's much easier to form it while it's still warm.  I did free hand each layer... I know, I know, the hard way.  But he was happy!!
His grandmother found these Goldfish Brand sandwich bread packs, so I used them to make grilled cheese sandwiches (in the oven) for our friends party.  Super easy!
For our friends party we also made cupcakes with gummy sharks (and a few with toy sharks for those who cannot have dye) that you can order on line.  The gummy sharks where a little large for the cupcakes but the kids loved them!

If you are not trying to avoid food dye, you can also buy shallow clear plastic cups.... make blue JELLO and after the Jello has set about 1/2 way, add in Swedish fish candy and or gold fish crackers... after it sets in the frig you'll have a tray of little fish in the sea cups ready to party down!

As you can also see, I used fish nets (from the Dollar Tree) on my food and gifts tables along with blue table covers to cheaply and creatively add to the SHARK THEME overall.

Our two SHARK PARTIES were a lot of fun!!

~ AtlantaMama

School Group is FUN

In our new home school group we meet with all of the kids together to sing songs (like days of the week) and talk about our themes.  We picked a theme & a color for each month.  We also picked a letter of the week or introduce and build our lessons around teaching that letter and letter sound.  The kids also have free play time before and after school group.
In the cooking class they used Banana's (because our August color is YELLOW) and made a banana and organic peanut butter mush.  They rolled it into a ball and rolled the ball in real coconut flakes, and then decorated it with raisins.  After going in the frig for a little while the kids got to eat what they created (during lunch time).  AtlantaMama recommends Almond Butter & Honey as another healthy option to create this yummy snack!
And we sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my birthday boy again at School Group!  The kids enjoyed SHARK CUPCAKES together!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy Birthday SharkMan

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful little boy!  I cannot believe you are 4 years old already!!  You are awesome, Dude!  I am very grateful to be your Mommy!  You are so much fun to be with and you have a truly incredible heart!  Thank you for ministering joy to me daily! 
 Shark PJ's on your big B'day!

 CHUCK E. CHEESE's tradition
 We enjoyed Chuck E. Cheese!
 Thank You Chili's for this FREE cake!!
It was a wonderful day with SharkMan!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Little Man

RaceCar is 21 months old and he is FULL SPEED ahead and FULL OF LIFE!  I love you so much baby!  I love watching your love of freedom and your zeal for life daily!

Monday, August 15, 2011

4 Year Old Birthday Party Time

Our Family Party was AWESOME!!!! 

First Day of School!

1st Day of Preschool for Mr. SharkMan!!!
 Breakfast with the BACKPACK on!!  Love that!
We enjoyed a great first day at our School Group
(a homeschool co-op group of 5 families, where all of the Moms teach their area, the kids are divided into class groups/teams by age & level, and then we all enjoy lunch together.  this group will also do field trips and other holiday parties together.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Homeschool Prep

While preparing to officially start homeschooling my soon-to-be 4 year old this year, I bought out the Target Dollar Spot with workbooks, connect the dots, games (like alphabet bingo), small puzzles, two kinds of dry erase boards, crayons, glue, flash cards and more. 
Then I ran into a problem S T O R A G E?!  Large magazine style storage bins are not cheap, so I came up with a crafty idea... recycle...

 1.) Buy a membership to COSTCO so you can re purpose your large boxes in to FREE STORAGE bins (which means they are not free... $50 membership + $18 for products... + scrapbook paper & glue... = not really "free" after all!  But if you've got some large boxes ANYWAY, it feels "free"! lol)
2.) Cut the boxes into the shape you'd like & add clear tape to bottom
3.) Choose your fun scrapbook paper and start pasting!
4.) Add decorative touches or labels to the outside & line the inside with solid paper (if you'd like to)
5.) Fill those bad boys up with workbooks, flash cards, and school supplies!

Options & Details:
On the plaid box, I only cut the paper when I had to and I was aiming for clean lines.  By contrast, on the polk-a-dot box, I cut the paper into lots of pieces first and then started gluing.  If one shape overlaps another by a lot, cut off the extra like you are making a puzzle piece and save that extra piece for an open spot.  After doing the project both ways, I like the 2nd option best.  I had enough paper (I used two sheets of 12x12 per box) and the process went MUCH FASTER because the randomness allowed for less precision.  Plus, if you have an older preschooler (or older child) they could help you cut and paste pieces until the box is covered.  They will enjoy getting messy with the glue or mog pog.  On the polk-a-dot box, I made the white "belt" from the extra paper that I had to cut off (some scrapbook paper has an extra white section for the branding and bar code).  I also plan to add letter stickers to the tag.  The "E" is cut from a fabric sample (because I had it... I am a big fan of use what you have around).  It's a fun little afternoon project and it's useful!

~ AtlantaMama

Monday, August 8, 2011

About AtlantaMama

Welcome to my new blog!  I had an old blog but it would not longer allow me to post photos and things were acting up.  I am excited about my new site because I feel that I am in a whole new season of life.

I have been married almost 8 years now.  My kids are awesome and I love being a Mom.  While my old blog was very much about the baby days, this blog will most likely be about the phase of life we are in now... toddler and preschool days.  This is my first year of homeschooling, although in a lot of ways it's just a step beyond what we were already trying to do, we are just more official now. 

In my me time (wait, when does that happen?  Ok, when it happens occasionally) I like to scrapbook, design, create, photograph, sing, and enjoy being creative.  I find ways to bring creativity to parenting, to exercise, to cooking (87 meals a week), to anything that gets repetitive.  While I enjoy slight creative changes,  I don't like big change until I've had time to process things.  Then, I embrace it (or at least accept it).  Lately, all of the changes in my family's life have been good.  God has literally carried us through the worst U.S. economy's in two generations and he has lifted us up out of the icky stuff that goes along with oppression and difficulty.  It lifted this past February and I praise God for that. I know that God's plans are good.  He is our good Father and because He IS good... He only gives what is good.  He's also ever faithful.  We've had quit a lesson in that.  He cannot not be faithful.  He always was and always will be.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  There is such peace and certainty in that.  Stepping. Off. Soap. Box. Now.  In other areas, I am a big fan of eating what God made instead of (or more than) what man processed.  Eating real and natural and healthy makes sense to me.  We became so aware of toxins and msg when I was pregnant with our first.  We are not 100% natural/organic/not genetically modified yet, but we are making changes as we go.  When I run out of a product, I look for something healthier or safer to replace it.  I am sure I'll blog about this topic from time to time and link to other sites I like.  (And ask you for sites you recommend)  I want to live fully and live well.  I don't believe in diets.  That is such a money making industry in the U.S.  But most of it seems to be one sided and not well rounded.  It all seems like hype to me.  I aim for a lifestyle that looks at a menu and says, "what is the best option here?"  I also want to teach my kids that God made our food and not Publix. lol.  You mean strawberries don't grow in a box?  I am trying to stay active since I just turned 30 in May!! Yikes!  (I started P90x like a crazy lady.  I'll blog about all of that sometime too.)  I feel that my calling right now is to serve and invest in my family and secondly, to serve and invest in other moms and moms-to-be.  As a mom, I have had one non-medicated natural birth and one frank breech c-section.  I've nursed both babies and made home-made baby food.  As my mom would say, I try to do things the hard way.  It's easier to buy that stuff at Target.  But I enjoyed the challenges and I am grateful that God has intrusted my Husband and I with our kids.  It's such an awesome responsibility.  (To read more about the baby years, click my old blog site:

I hope you will FOLLOW me and join me on this journey we call life.
I am looking to connect with other Moms. Encourage each other. Laugh at funny pictures of our kids. And share ideas about parenting, home education, and other fun things to do with and our families.

~ AtlantaMama