Clay Bead Necklace

How to Make Clay Bead Necklaces -


My girls have been hard at work preparing for our local fairs. One craft that they worked hard on were these clay bead necklaces. Their hard work paid off! They both received purple ribbons at one fair and blue at the other! More importantly they had a great time making them!

This activity was fun for me also! It is also a very good fine more activity and math patterning activity in case you want to sneak in some school un-noticed! Plus, as an added bonus, you can use them as oil diffuser necklaces!

What you need:

Small Cookie Cutter

Wooden stick or end of a paint brush

Lacing or jewelry cord (We used this…Hemptique Hemp Cord Card, 20-Pound, Party)

Oven Baking Clay in desired colors (We used this one…Polyform Sculpey Bake Shop Clay Variety Pack, 14-Ounce)

How To…

First, work on your medallion by pressing out a small lump of clay and cutting with cookie cutter. We then cut out another from a complementary color and place in the center. Using the end of a paint brush or stick carve in a design or initial.




Next, work on your beads. Roll a “snake” of clay and use a plastic butter knife to cut it into even sections.


Roll each section into a pea sized bead.


Using the end of a paint brush or stick, poke a whole through the center of the bead for lacing.


Bake beads and medallion on a sheet tray in a 275 degree oven for 15 minutes. Allow to completely cool. Then lace onto cording. Tie cording securely at the ends.


How to Use Sensory Play in Your Homeschool

How to Use Sensory Play in Your Homeschool

When I had my first baby I had no idea what sensory play was, but I already knew it was important. After her birth, I wanted her to experience as much as she could whether it was feeling, hearing, seeing, smelling, or even tasting. In my mind the more she experienced, the more connections her brain made. So when I learned about sensory play it just made sense!

What exactly is Sensory Play?

Sensory Play is an activity that evokes the senses. Not all sensory play will evoke all the senses, but generally it will involve at least two. This can be as simple as playing with water and feeling the temperature as well as hearing the splashes and seeing the ripples.

Why do kids need Sensory Play?

All people, even adults, learn best when their senses are engaged. This explains why many of our memories may be triggered by just a smell. When a baby is born it knows little of the world around it and (like all of us) uses its senses to learn.  As it experiences different sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch the brain will connect them, so sensory play enhances learning. Sensory play also gives kids the chance to practice fine motor skills like pouring or pincher grasp. It gives them a chance to experience cause and effect when given things they can interact with like water, shaving cream, or food coloring. It gives them a chance to boost their creativity with free play and exploration of the world around them. And as long as you are there discussing what is going on (which supervision is needed especially with young children), it gives them a chance to develop a larger vocabulary and make connections to what words really mean. How can you know what a splash looks like or sounds like until you experience it and are given the words to go along with it.

I am sure you can see why Sensory Play is valuable to the young child. Honestly even my early elementary kids still love it, and they can start to learn even more from it. That vinegar and baking soda eruption is more than some stinky bubbles now; they can begin to learn the science behind it and think of ways to alter it. They are still learning vocabulary from it as well!

Another benefit I have seen in my own kids is that it can calm them down. If they are having an overly energetic day, a sensory bin can help them refocus and keep them entertained for a while. Usually after some time in sensory play they can come back to school work or house work or just quieter play!  This may not be true for all kids or even all sensory activities, but I have noticed it with mine.

Want to start some sensory play with your kids?

Here is how you can! There is really no right or wrong way to put together a sensory bin. Sometimes I use a plastic bin, sometimes the water table or bathtub, sometimes our homemade light table or just a table depending on what we have.  Think of some things you can include in your sensory play. You can use play dough, rice, beans, soap bubbles, marshmallows, shredded paper, and on and on;  really there is no end to what you use. You do need to think about your own child and if they are likely to taste whatever you put in it. If you have young children who still stick everything in their mouths (which they do for sensory input) you may want to stick with edible sensory fun like pudding, yogurt, jello, or homemade edible play dough. You can keep it simple or add a fun theme.  if you do choose to add thematic components make sure you organize them aesthetically in the bin! If it is pretty and looks like fun, our child is much more likely to dive in!

I think one thing that stops some parents from adding sensory play is the mess it can create. It’s true, sensory play can be very messy. Some is definitely less messy then others though. So my tips for minimizing messes are:
  • do as much as you can outside (not possible in bad weather),
  • if you are inside, make sure the bin is on a easy to clean surface (not carpet),
  • or go one step further and place a large plastic tablecloth under the bin
  • or even let your child explore the bin in the bathtub where clean up is easy!

Sensory play really doesn’t have to be intimidating and most all children really enjoy it. You may find specific materials your child doesn’t care for, but don’t give up if a bin or two get rejected! If you need some ideas to get you started check out my Sensory page where I have listed some of the bins we have used.

Ashley is a classic strong-willed child,  she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian is 2005 only to realize a new dream had formed, having a family with her husband (another strong-willed child). After much heartache, they were blessed with 2 daughters and a son, who are all proving to be just as spirited as their parents! Though she still works part-time, she fills her days off with fun activities and lots of learning with her three kids. And this is where the blog comes in, Life with Moore Babies, is where she documents the activities they do and the places they go in hopes that someone might be inspired to do some “fun learning” with their own kids. You can find Ashley on FacebookPinterest,Google +, and Twitter.

DIY Fort Kit in a Bag


DIY Fort Kit in a Bag by

My boys love building forts! They will go outside and spend hours putting forts together. They have to find just the right spot, spend hours putting it together only to then take it down, move to another spot in the yard and start all over. whew! Once they are finally established they act like secret spy agents and try to get to each other’s forts. It is really a lot of fun watching their imaginations take off! Even though ALL of my sheets and heavy containers seem to disappear, and no one knows where they went.  Hmmm….  Okay. Who am I to discourage creative thinking and logistics?

Our DIY Fort Kit

In an effort to save my household products, I decided to make them their very own Fort Kits in a special, personalized bag. Each one of them have their own bag with their initials on it complete with all the things a kid needs to build his very own, personal fort and even watch out for intruders. I found some old bed sheets that we don’t use anymore and also picked up 1 or 2 from Goodwill. I then went to the Dollar Tree and purchased flash lights, bungee cords to strap down the sheets, some spy kits they had at the time (you can’t complete a secret mission without cool gadgets) and magnifying glasses. I also added in some binoculars and walkie-talkies I found at the toy store. For these items, I did spend a little more money just so they would (hopefully) last longer. My boys are pretty rough on things and I wanted them to have items that actually worked! Toys R Us was having a sale on their science stuff around Christmas so I was able to get some night-time goggles and some pretty cool binoculars that have flash lights on them, for a great price. And of course, the final touch was adding a foam sword or plastic gun.

Once I had all of my stuff purchased, I went looking for some sturdy material that would hold all of this and could take a beating. I found some thick fleece scraps that were in my sewing scrap box and luckily, I had just enough to make 4 bags! I had two colors so I rotated the colors between the bag and the initials. I went to my mom and she helped me put these together (she did most of the work, while I watched!)

Here are some step-by-step photos:



After we finished the bags, I gathered the materials for each one and stuffed them. I gave them to the boys for Christmas and they loved them! Mission accomplished :). I no longer have household items go missing, yeah for me! I hope you have enjoyed this post and if you choose to make your own fort kit, send me some pictures and I will post them up here! Thanks for reading!

For more summer time activities, I have a post here – 32 Ideas for Summer Activities and Water Play

A great place to buy a fort kit is Fort Magic. (not an affiliate link) They have some really cool stuff!



www.sproutingtadpoles.comI’m Janeen, a Christian homeschooling mom to 5 blessings from God. I am passionate about history and I love to plan and organize! We have been homeschooling for 6 years and started a new journey this year using Heart of Dakota. You can read more about our busy lives at Sprouting Tadpoles where I write about homeschooling, Heart of Dakota, history, toddlers and much more. You can also connect with me on FacebookPinterest and Twitter.

Summer Pretend Play – Ice Cream Shop!


School is out and it is beginning to heat up for summer in my neck of the woods! Although we don’t have “school” in the summer months I do plan activities to keep little hands busy and big minds active.

Today we did a fun pretend play activity with “Cloud Dough” (see recipe below). Cloud dough is soft and fluffy and will hold together when packed tightly or fall apart when crumbled. It is a very cheap, fun and entertaining sensory material.

We played Ice Cream Shop!

I gathered some simple supplies that I had on hand and our cloud dough.


Then we headed outside!!! They set up shop in the shade under their club house and waited for their first pretend customer…Me!


I had them color a price list and I paid in play money. The olders then had to count back change while the littles worked on fine motor skills of scooping the cones.


Then we switched for the next customer!


You could easily use real ice cream but cloud dough won’t melt! However, keep a watchful eye and provide gentle reminders that it is just for pretend!


8 cups all purpose flour

1 cup baby oil

Washable paint

Mix flour and baby oil in large bowl. Streak through washable paint and mix well. The paint will look like sprinkles mixed into the flour.

Emmalee Hoggatt - CopyEmmalee is a mother of three beautiful girls, ages 6, 5 & 2. She also works full time operating a childcare from her home. She and her family live in rural Southeast Kansas and enjoy the country life on their growing “Triple-A-Farm.” She enjoys the outdoors, being in the kitchen and diving into God’s word. Emmalee also has a passion for children and family kingdom ministries. She blogs, where she shares a hodgepodge of recipes, craft ideas, homeschooling tips, resources and devotions.

The Ultimate Library for a Homeschooling Mom!

Get The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle--Hurry: Sale 6 Days Only!

By popular demand, 100+ homemaking bloggers are bringing back The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and it’s better than ever!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of great eBooks on homemaking—a truly valuable knowledge base you’ll use for many years to come.

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I’m confident you won’t find a more comprehensive set of homemaking resources anywhere — and certainly not at this price. Bought separately, they’d cost a total of $698 (not including $200+ in bonuses!). But you can have all of them for just $29.97!

Or, for just an extra $10, you not only get the full set of PDF files, but also a bonus set of Kindle editions, perfectly formatted for easy Kindle reading. This has been a popular request over the years and I’m excited to say it’s now available!

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FREEbie: Easter Cross Luminary

*This post contains affiliate links.

My boys absolutely love craft time, and the holidays are always the perfect “excuse” for a new craft! With Easter right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to create a homemade Easter Cross Luminary.

*Be sure to read all the way through to download the FREEbie!

Easter Cross Decoupage Luminary

Books are an integral part of our educational journey, so anytime we embark on a holiday-themed craft, I always try to find great books to accompany the fun. Here are some of our favorite Easter books:

  • The Legend of the Three Trees by Catherine McCafferty – This is perhaps one of my favorite children’s books of all time. There are several versions of this story available, but I personally prefer this one by Catherine McCafferty. In this beautifully illustrated book is the story of three trees with big dreams. When the woodcutters come to chop them down, they fear their dreams won’t be realized. Instead, they learn that God’s plan is always bigger and perfect!
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story by Mike Berenstain – I’ve always been a fan of The Berenstain Bears, both the books and TV show. The wholesome stories share valuable life lessons that are relatable for kids. In The Berestain Bears and the Easter Story, Papa and the cubs are lured by the commercialism of Easter. But Mama is there to remind them of the true reason for the holiday and why we celebrate it.
  • The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg VandenBosch – One of our all-time favorite Christmas books is The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered she had another book for the Easter holiday, The Legend of the Easter Egg! This treasure of a book includes gorgeous illustrations and brings a new perspective on the meaning of Easter eggs as an example of the miracle of Easter.
  • Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco – We first discovered author Patricia Polacco when our K-3 Book Club read The Bee Tree together and have been a fan ever since. In this uniquely illustrated book, we learn lessons about love and kindness, along with the beautiful tradition of Ukrainian-style Easter eggs.

Easter Recommended Book List

After enjoying these fabulous Easter books, we had fun making Easter Cross Luminaries! This is a craft that is simple, inexpensive and fun for the whole family. For a supplies list, instructions, and Easter Cross templates, download our Easter Cross Decoupage Luminary FREEbie today!

Easter Cross Decoupage Luminary

Kat ReaderKat is the proud mama to 3 incredible boys. Her family began their homeschooling journey in 2006 when her oldest was in 2nd grade, and the twins were barely 6 months old. She’s passionate about researching resources and activities that allow her children to use all of their senses and learning styles, which she shares at World of Learning. In her “spare time”, she’s a Virtual Assistant, creating printables, logos, business cards and more, and providing editing services.  Connect with Kat on FacebookTwitterPinterest andGoogle +.

Finding Joy In The Little Blessings

Make Your Own Joy Jar

There are so many times in our homeschool days that we get so caught up in…..stuff.  Stuff can often overtake us mommas!  We are often busy from the time that we wake up until we fall into bed, too exhausted to sleep.  We can’t sleep because we often have so many thoughts going through our head.  Well, in the midst of a frazzled Mommy day, my husband and I were working on a printable book and this activity came to me.

Between the lessons, discipling my children, guiding them, training them and shuffling them to activities, some days the little things get lost.  The week ends and we start again.  I wanted to find a way to teach my kids (and remember myself) all the small little blessings that we encounter each and everyday.

To help remember the little blessings, we made a JOY Jar.  It’s a simple project that allows for as much creativity as one can muster.  It is also a great project to get little ones involved too, especially if you use a can.  They can put stickers or whatever you like on it.  For me, I admit I am NOT the most crafty person in the world.  That is a skill my mother did not pass on to me and grandma wasn’t in town :).

Here is how you do it:

1.  Take a can, any can.  Wash it first! 🙂



2. Cut out a piece of construction paper or fabric to cover the can.  My husband has also used card stock.  You can use almost anything in your imagination to cover the can.

HSC 2-15-2014-2




3.  Decorate the construction paper how you like.  Make sure to place the word JOY on there somewhere, then you can know exactly what the can is for.



4.  Take paper strips and write blessings for each person in your family each day. At the end of the week take time to go back through them and read them aloud and thank God for your blessings.  Reading them aloud can be something shared as a family too by taking turns:).



If you want to use an actual jar instead of a can let me share some pictures of how to do that too.

1.  Take your jar and cut a square of fabric bigger then the opening so that it hangs down. You can make a decorative edge if you want.  Then cut a circle the size of the jar opening in the middle of the fabric.

HSC 2-25-2014-4


2.  Screw the ring of the jar on, don’t use a lid:)



3.  Adjust the fabric so that it is pretty even and there you go! Very simple:) Then place your strips in each day like you would the can.



I hope this activity blesses you and your family.  If you make one I would love to hear from you!

In Christ,


Laura PraterLaura is an Army wife to a Soldier who has served the last 18.5 years active duty. They reside in WA for the time being with their 3 boys. Laura home schools all 3. They are very active in their church and community. You can find Laura blogging on Facebook at, on Pinterest and on Twitter

FREEbie: Shamrock Faux Stained Glass Craft

*This post contains affiliate links.

Stained glass is beautiful, but not necessarily the most “kid-friendly” craft. So we decided to come up with an alternative … faux stained glass! Our FREEbie: Shamrock Faux Stained Glass is a fun craft for kids and adults and the end result is so pretty! Once complete, you can frame your creation or hang in a window to enjoy.

The inspiration for this stained glass comes from the legend of the shamrock. St. Patrick used the shamrock as a symbol to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland. Tomie dePaola beautifully shares the story of St. Patrick, along with the legend of the shamrock, in his book Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland.

“When Saint Patrick was preaching about the Holy Trinity, the people could not understand that there was one God in three Divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Patrick looked down, and growing at his feet was a shamrock. He picked it and held it up, showing that there was one stem, but three leaves. The people understood the Holy Trinity at once.” – excerpt from Patrick Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaolo

Tomie dePaolo’s Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland does a beautiful job of sharing the true story of how a young boy went from being a slave to a faithful servant of God. Along with the biography of Saint Patrick, he also includes several legends: Saint Patrick and the Snakes, Saint Patrick and the Lost Horses, Saint Patrick and the Evil Coroticus, Saint Patrick and the Altar Stone, and Saint Patrick and the Shamrock.

Download our FREEbie: Shamrock Faux Stained Glass to celebrate the legend of the shamrock as you learn more about Saint Patrick and the reason we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day!


Kat ReaderKat is the proud mama to 3 incredible boys. Her family began their homeschooling journey in 2006 when her oldest was in 2nd grade, and the twins were barely 6 months old. She’s passionate about researching resources and activities that allow her children to use all of their senses and learning styles, which she shares at World of Learning. In her “spare time”, she’s a Virtual Assistant, creating printables, logos, business cards and more, and providing editing services.  Connect with Kat on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.

Paperless Home Organization Giveaway ++ Freebies & Giveaways Linkup

Homeschool Freebies & Giveaways Link Up - Every Monday

Homeschool Moms Giveaways & Freebies Linky Party – Week 8

Welcome to Week 8 of the Giveaways & Freebies Linky party!  We’ve been having so much fun these last few weeks with some amazing giveaways!  Thank you to all of the sponsors so far! If you’re new here:  We are hosting one giveaway each Monday that is put together especially for homeschooling families!   We’ll have pampering items, curriculum, e-books, print books and more!  After the giveaway, we’re  featuring a spot where other bloggers can share a link to their own giveaways that they’re hosting on their own blogs.  It’ll be fun!  It’s a great place to come where you can enter several giveaways for homeschoolers AND get some freebies for homeschoolers all at once.  Plus, it’s an easy way to get to know some new products and try them out for yourself.

This Week’s Giveaway is Hosted by Mystie Winckler, Author of Paperless Home Organization!

Mystie also wrote the guest post below:

ubiquitous capture for moms Do you have a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or an iPod Touch? Do you wish you could use it more effectively? These devices hold out the promise of being an all-in-one organizational tool, but using them to their full potential instead of duplicating places we keep information is a daunting task. With a small, portable piece of technology, we can keep as much information as we want in our pocket! No matter where we are, we can keep an up-to-date calendar, task list, notes and lists and files, menu plan, grocery and shopping lists, an address & phone book – and all that without an internet connection or data plan. Besides the size factor, it is the search feature that really makes digital information so much more useful. Being able to search inside every document, address book contacts, and calendar is the biggest boon of the digital age. Flipping through a binder or file folder or pile, wondering just what you did with that note you are sure you made? A thing of the past. I also use my iPod Touch (I don’t have a smartphone or a data plan, just a smart-iPod) as a timer (15 minutes of decluttering! Go!), alarm (3pm afternoon chore time, everyone), weight-tracker, reader (with the Kindle and Instapaper apps), and audio book supply for the car. I love being able to track whatever I want, list whatever I want, and look up whatever I want, just on my little iPod in my pocket. Plus, I always have waiting-room or car-ride reading & listening materials at hand. paperless organization digital home management Paperless Home Organization is my own instruction booklet for moving the household management notebook into the current decade, utilizing technology to work for our unique, diversified, and very personal roles. In addition to step-by-step instructions for setting up a home management system on Evernote, there are also detailed instructions in this ebook for customizing the application for blogging and homeschooling, since those are also two areas requiring lots of organization in my own life. Along the way I have not only tips for using these programs to their full ability, but also tips on getting and keeping organized that apply regardless of what form your organization takes. For those who don’t want to wait until the end of the giveaway to get started on organizing more effectively, you can use the discount code survival to get $1 off the already-low price of $3.99. This code will work for both Paperless Home Organization and GTD for Homemakers.





paperless organization digital home managementgtd for homemakers and homeschoolers


Would you Like to Win a Copy of Paperless Home Organization & GTD for Homemakers for yourself?

Win a Copy of Paperless Home Organization!

Enter your information into the Rafflecopter below:
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Other Giveaways & Freebies:

It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)  

What to Read on a Snowy Day


We don’t get many snowy days where we live, but when we do, you will find my boys knee deep in it. Okay, maybe only bottom-of-foot deep, but it’s still heaven to them!

When they finally come inside to get warm and dry, what’s a mom to do with all that leftover energy? You can’t “do school” on a snow day, can you? Well, being that we are homeschoolers, why not turn a snow day into a unit study?

(This post contains affiliate links)

So, grab a cup of hot chocolate and plenty of marshmallows, snuggle under a warm blanket, and spend some quality time celebrating all things SNOW!

  1. Snow by Uri Shulevitz is a Caldecott Honor Book that depicts what happens in a village when a single flake of snow appears. Watch as this gray world suddenly becomes vibrant and alive. When you’re done reading, try painting your own scene with watercolors.
  2. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is the classic story of a little boy named Peter’s day in the snow. Peter makes interesting tracks in the snow by pointing his feet in different directions and by dragging his feet along. When you head back outside, see what kind of tracks you can make.
  3. Snowballs by Lois Ehlert is a fun picture book that uses collage illustrations. If you don’t have enough snow for a snowman (like us), gather some materials like the ones in the book or use scraps from magazines and junk mail to make a snowman collage on paper. You can also cut scraps from Christmas cards and leftover wrapping paper.
  4. The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader, another Caldecott Medal recipient, is a timeless classic (1948) that shows what happens to the animals when the big snow arrives. This book explores migration and hibernation, as well as depicting how the other animals prepare for winter. Pull out your nature journals and draw what the animals in your backyard are doing. Be sure to throw some seeds out for the birds and watch from your window to see what appears.
  5. The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson is a science lesson in picture book form. Learn how snow is formed and see enlarged actual photographs of snow crystals as if you were looking through a microscope. Take a piece of dark card stock and a magnifying glass outside to catch your own snow crystal and see what it looks like. This book might also inspire you to make cut paper snowflakes in different patterns to decorate your window!

Even if you don’t get snow where you live, you can always turn the air conditioning on and pretend it’s snowing outside! Everyone deserves a snow day once in a while.


Anne CampbellAnne Campbell is the mother to three boys (in every sense of the word!) and a homeschooler for the past eleven years. She is the Managing Editor of Blog at Home Educating Family Association, columnist for Home Educating Family Magazine, and member of the Home Educating Family review team. As a former classroom teacher, she loves to share resources and ideas and encourage other moms and homeschoolers. When they started on their homeschooling  journey, her oldest son was in kindergarten. They decided to take it one day at a time, one year at a time, and now she has a high school student, middle school student, and elementary student, and all still at home. They fly by the seats of their pants most days, spending as much time as possible exploring nature, and seizing learning opportunities whenever they appear. You can visit her at her blog Learning Table. You can also find Anne onBloglovin’FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.