Wednesday, August 27, 2014

National Nutrition Week

Establishing healthy eating habits early in life can make a huge impact on children’s lifelong relationship with food and give them the best opportunity to grow into healthy, confident adults. Eating is a social activity; it should be fun and enjoyable. Families can plan, make and eat regular meals together. Add physical activity to your child’s day, just as you would add fruits or vegetables.
Most experts agree that healthy eating habits are best formed at a young age. We have gone from the old food pyramid icon, with its recommended daily allowances; to a revamped food pyramid, with a figure walking up steps to incorporate exercise into a daily routine; to a food plate, which allows even nonreaders understanding of good food choices and more food variety. The “choose my plate” campaign has been a well-received program. Let's just keep in mind what size our plates should be.

Here are a few good books to have on hand during National Nutrition Week.
Monsters need nutritious meals, too!

Revised Edition

The dog is just waiting for her to drop it!

And here are fun games on the web.

Looking for a fun Friday activity? Have a food group relay race. The racer must push the shopping cart to the store (opposite side of the room), put one food from each food group into the cart, then race back to their line. The next person in line must race to the store and put back the food items in their correct food group spot then race back. The next person gathers food as before.

Here are a few nutritional products for my TpT store. The first is a freebie!!!

Grab this freebie!!

Cool unit to go with your freebie!

Yummy Clip Cards!

Hungry yet?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

National Bowling Week

Whew, maybe now things will calm down. Our Japanese exchange student has flown home, the big TpT sale is over, and our first week of school is almost completed. August is on the way out, but we have one more August wacky week to celebrate – National Bowling Week!

Bowling has been around for about 5000 years, since ancient times. At first in the U.S. a wooden ball was used, then a rubber ball, and eventually, in 1914, a mineralite ball was introduced. In the 1950's, the American Machine and Foundry Company, AMF, purchased patents to the automatic pinspotter and television stations began broadcasting bowling shows.

There are many forms of bowling with the most common being ten-pin bowling. Each game is divided into ten frames in which the bowler has two chances to knock down all ten pins. The number of pins knocked down in each frame is recorded and a running total is kept. The player with the highest score in his game wins the match. If a player knocks down all of the pins on the first roll, a strike, the player's score will be 10 plus the total pins knocked down on the next two rolls in the next frames. When all pins are knocked down using both rolls in the frame, a spare, the player's score for that frame will be 10 plus the number of pins knocked down on the first roll of the next frame. If a player makes a spare or strike in the last frame, he is given one more roll if a spare and two more rolls if a strike to add to their scores.

Bowling is a sport enjoyed by people of all ages for leisure or competitively. Today, over 95 million people enjoy bowling.

Try these two website bowling games (the first game is the easier of the two):

And here are two books to read during bowling week:

Emma goes bowling with her dad.

Irma sees a balloon - watch out!

And finally, you have to bowl during Nat'l Bowling Week:

Fill 10 plastic bottles with water and label the bottles 1 – 10. Tape down 2 lines of masking tape to create an alley. Tape down ten pieces of tape shaped as “X”es and labeled 1 – 10. These are for easy placement of the bottles at the start of each frame. Have score cards printed out ahead of time with children's names. (Create 4-5 of these alleys; with more alleys, there will be less waiting.) Each alley needs a tennis ball in lieu of a bowling ball. Before beginning the games, the adult should explain scoring and also the importance of rotating so that each person has the opportunity to serve as a pinspotter (or in this case a bottlespotter).

My kids and I bowled with a play bowling set I bought at the thrift store for fifty cents, but making your own bowling set sounds fun. I thought we would have troubles with noone wanting to be the pinspotter. Wrong! They all wanted to be the pinspotter!

Check out these bowling items:

Fun worksheets

See you at the alley !

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sale, Sale, Sale!!!

Who doesn't love a sale? Especially an unexpected sale!
This year NC did away with its no-tax weekend for school supplies, which makes the TpT sale tomorrow even more of a perfect time to stock up on school goodies - while saving 28%!!!

I have so many goodies for your little tykes from

eClip Cards

Place Value Clip Cards

And here is a freebie to get you in the school mood.

Use at Open House or Math Night!

Oh, and I just updated my Sight Word Booklets.

New and improved!
So much excitement!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tokyo Bound!

Sunday we “return” our Japanese exchange student. What a sad day that will be! I cannot believe it has only been one month since we first met Aya.

And what a fun month! Eating seaweed snacks, watching High School Musical (over and over and over), looking up into the starry sky while listening to the tree frogs sing and the coyotes howl – I hate to see it end! Aya is truly a part of our family.

For any of you considering hosting a foreign exchange student, I wholeheartedly recommend the experience. Your family will grow in many wonderful ways.
(We actually did more then just eat and play games - truly!)

We ate.

And played games.

And ate.

And played games.

And ate.

And watched High School Musical.

Special Guest Blogger

Check out this post written by my special guest blogger . . . my husband!

Jon has created cute games for little ones to practice math concepts: adding, subtracting, place value, money, etc. He is such a talented man; he creates new products, he fixes computers/printers, he constructs blogs, I could go on and on. Can you tell I am proud of this man?! Right now, he is in the process of creating eClip Cards. How cool, right!?! Anyway, here is his post about The Visual Calculator – a place value mat that is virtual!

A Place-Value Concept Demonstrator/Manipulative

Would you like a new way to demonstrate place-value concepts? Would you like a tool that lets you illustrate place-value concepts to the entire class in a single demonstration? Are you tired of searching your classroom for lost and mislaid manipulatives?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, we've cooked up something that we think you will love.

It's a virtual place-value “work bench” for performing place-value arithmetic manipulations (see the demonstration video below). It can be installed on any computer running Microsoft Windows XP or later.

For class-wide instruction, simply mirror your computer display onto your SMART board or classroom projector. For individual student discovery and exploration, install on your classroom computer station.

This virtual activity mat can model numerals up to and including 3999. It is especially helpful for illustrating borrowing and carrying operations.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Feeling More TpT Love!

Okay, I am really thankful for the TpT community. The generosity and compassion abounds among these fellow teachers/sellers.

Shelly Rees created a facebook post and a blog post about my store. Just out of the goodness of her heart she did this. She doesn't know me; I could walk up to her and hug her neck, and she would think I was just some weirdo off the streets. I mean it doesn't get any better than that!

Thank you, Shelly, for proving that nice people do still exist!!

Check out the post:

Feel the TpT Love

The warmth and kindness of fellow TpT sellers never ceases to amaze me. And here is yet another testimony to the fact. Aisne from Aisne's Creations lives in South Africa; I live in NC. She has never met me; yet, she has graciously featured my store my TpT store in her blog. How awesome is that?!?

Thank you, Aisne!!

Check out the post: 

Check it out!

Saturday, August 9, 2014


August 14th is National Navajo Code Talkers Day.

Navajo "Code Talkers" used their native language as the basis of a cipher that confounded the Japanese military during World War II. Think of the importance of those code talkers!

The study of codes and ciphers is called cryptography from the Greek kryptos or hidden and graphia or writing. Codes are different from ciphers. When you substitute one word for another word or sentence, you are using a code. When you mix up or substitute existing letters, you are using a cipher.

Simple secret codes are:

Mirror Writing – write message so that when it is held up to a mirror, the words are easily read

Reverse the Words - read the words backwards

Half-Reversed Alphabet - write out the letters from A to M then write the letters from N to Z directly below them

Read Every Second Letter - read every second letter starting at the first letter, and when you finish, start again on the letters you missed

And how cool is it that the CIA has a website for breaking codes?

Below are a few code books for kids: 

Top Secret Code Book

Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing
Super Little Giant Book of Secret Codes

For motivation in language or math or for just having fun, codes are super fun!


You Oughta Know About... Wacky Holidays!

Everyone has heard “Every day's a holiday” but it is true! There is a holiday for every day of the year. I am not talking about Thanksgiving or Christmas; I'm talking about Pony Express Day, Dictionary Day, and National Day of the Cowboy.

There is sooo much you can do with this idea! These holidays have websites, books, crafts, and food that perfectly align to their celebration.

Here is a great book to get the ball rolling.

Author: J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrator: Anna Raff
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: March 2013

Celebrating these zany holidays provide life-learning lessons, engage students, promote creativity, and provide hands-on learning opportunities.

Besides, who doesn't love to celebrate!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Leftie or Rightie?

August 13th is Left Handers Day

Famous lefties:
Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc, Boston Strangler, Jack-the-Ripper, Prince Charles, Prince William, Paul McCartney, Michelangelo, Bruce Willis, Oprah Winfrey, and so many more.
4 of the 5 original designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed
1 in 4 Apollo astronauts were left-handed – 250% more than the normal level.
In my elementary school, left handers were so not the norm that they did stand out but in a good way. We had one left hander in my grade, and we would love to watch her write or draw. We also had an ambidextrious student. Seeing him write with both hands (at the same time sometimes) was like, “Wow!”.

Take a look at the picture below:

Because their brains are organized differently, left-handers can make sense of the shapes; supposedly, while right-handers cannot.

I am right-handed yet I easily saw the picture. Hmmm.

Answer Below: 

A dog drinking from a stream, with its head in the middle of the picture facing down to the water and its tail to the right.

Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!

August 12th is Middle Child Day.
Three words for you...
“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”

But now, Jan and all the middle children of the world have their own special day. Middle Child Day celebrates these overlooked children. Finally a day when you can be recognized for being the middle child of your family.

That is, if your parents remember.

Presidents Laugh, Too

August 11th is Presidential Joke day.
I won't attempt a presidential joke. I will just say I think presidents are good sports.

There are many books about the presidents. The Editors of TIME For Kids bring us Time for Kids: Presidents of the United States. This book has a brief history of the presidential office, a description of the three branches of government, then profiles of each president in chronological order.

James Monroe went wigless - gasp!

Then look at this craft from – so cool!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Please Please Tell Me Now

August 10th is National Duran Duran Appreciation Day.

I will admit that I skipped out of school early, then waited outside all night in below freezing temperatures to be fourth in line the next day to get Duran Duran tickets when they came to Greensboro, NC. And I will admit that I wore my white Nick Rhodes jacket and pants along with my John Taylor khaki hat to the show. Oh, what a great show!

Everybody knows “Rio”; how about trying “Planet Earth”. Whatever your favorite Duran Duran tune is, hit play and crank it up!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Turkey Strike

August 9th – National Bowling Day
Bowling has been around for about 5000 years, since ancient times. At first, in the U.S. a wooden ball was used, then a rubber ball, and eventually, in 1914, a mineralite ball was introduced. In the 1950's, the American Machine and Foundry Company, AMF, purchased patents to the automatic pinspotter and television stations began broadcasting bowling shows. Today, over 95 million people enjoy bowling.
Check out these products:
This is right up your alley!

A buyer told me she used these at her school's Math Night - brilliant!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Be a Lighthouse

August 7th is Lighthouse Day. Lighthouses of today have come a long way from building a fire on top of a hillside! The oldest working lighthouse in America is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse (built in 1764). The oldest working lighthouse in the world is the Tower of Hercules (almost 1900 years old).
One of my favorite authors is Cynthia Rylant, and I love her series The Lighthouse Family.
Wonderful illustrations and storyline

And here is a cool craft for Lighthouse Day.
This photo first appeared in FamilyFun Magazine.

Zucchini Excess Remedy

Now, it doesn't do you any good to know that August 1st was National Girlfriends Day, August 2nd was National Mustard Day, August 3rd was National Friendship Day, and August 4th was National Psychic Day (Shawn Spencer, anyone?). Upcoming holidays need to be mentioned. This way you will have time to plan for these wild and crazy days.
Have you ever noticed that many wacky holidays revolve around food?
Today is National Oyster Day, August 6th is National Root Beer Float Day, and August 8th is Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch day. Now that is a zany holiday.
That sneaky zucchini!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Family Fun Month

August is Family Fun Month!
Now, every month should be family fun month, right? But life gets in the way of living, so let's concentrate extra hard this month to get together with family and make good memories.
August is a big birthday month for our family. My daddy's birthday, my son's birthday, and my youngest daughter's birthday. She has a great birth story – she was born in a Holiday Inn!
Whether your family is big or little, traditional or untraditional, try to spend some quality time with them this month.

Check out this Family Packet!

Here are Family Count and Clip Cards!
Here are family Count and Clip Cards!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Better Late Than Never

Our family homeschools, and we are very eclectic in our curriculum. Through the years we have always played a lot of games and have had fun following our own path. We have celebrated many wacky holidays along the way. And that is what this blog will try to do – get those zany holidays noticed so that you, too, can have fun learning and celebrating.

I know it is August 2nd, and I really should have started this blog on the first day of the month. My sweet husband has worked so hard learning how to setup a blog and had this blog up and going then BOOM! The computer crashed, so the poor thing had to start from scratch.

But hasn't he done such a terrific job?! He knew nothing about blog design until last week when we decided that I really should start a blog. I think he has done a fabulous job. He is still learning about new widgets to put on here so look for changes along the way.

Plus, we were celebrating Erik's birthday today. Seems like yesterday when he was born; almost 10 lbs, a big baby (I'm 5 feet on a good day). Erik was born at home – such a joyous time! Happy birthday dear Erik!

Let's Get it Started!!!

I haven't a clue about blogging, so let's start out with a brief introduction.
I am Lori, and I met my wonderful husband, Jon, in college 30 years ago. So, now that you know how old I am...

We live in North Carolina and have four superific children. Emily graduated college last year and has a big-girl job now. She is a Psychology major, so we have to be careful what we say around her. Audrey has decided to get yet another degree, so she is still in college. She went to an Early College High School to spend less time in college, so go figure. Sarah lives at home, is homeschooled, and is dual enrolled at a community college. She enjoys studying the Japanese language and is a creative artist, so she will need to decide which career combines those two talents. And Erik lives at home, is homeschooled, and is entering high school this year. He just received his black belt in karate, so we do what he tells us.

We have a couple of chickens, a cat, and a dog and, since we live in the boonies, an abundance of wild creatures running through our yard.
Life is good!!