Monday, September 30, 2013

SMMART Reading: Bed Book Basket

OH MY GOODNESS!  I LOVE THIS!  I was moving stuffed animals off and onto the bed for the umpteenth time while changing sheets on my girls' beds.  So many stuffed, furry cute and cuddly...and so in my way!  "I need more storage room for these things", my brain screamed! 

And a gift...came the idea of a bed basket!  I looked online...I looked at big box stores... and I found these at Home Depot by the hanging flower-coconut lined baskets.  I needed 36" to span the width of the girls' bunks (twin size).  These are a simple vertical metal design, but they were the cheapest I could find at $24 each.  I liked some of the more intricate rod iron designs I saw online, but the price was much higher. 

And the beauty of this "charming Hampton Bay 8 in. x 36 in. Metal English Flat-Wire Horse Trough" is that they are light weight, but sturdy and there are two vertical holes on the back side where I could hang this bed book basket with a ribbon!  So, no drilling or dinging up the girls' bed with hardware.  The girls have bunk beds that have slats for their footboard, so this way of hanging them will not work for every footboard, but the trough does come with hardware that has L-shaped "hooks" where you can hang the hooks over the footboard. (like this). 

Trying to make the bed book baskets a little more special, I used 2 cans of lavender Rustoleum spray paint to finish off both troughs.  Remember...several light coats so the paint doesn't drip.  The color works great in their room.  (See the two vertical holes where I thread through the ribbon?)

I wanted to protect the paint finish on the girls' beds, so I wrapped ribbon around the metal part that would touch the girls' beds.

(Before the spray paint, trying to figure out how I would hang it and if it would work)
My oldest daughter likes to tuck her latest book in with her animals, so she can grab it to read and relax up in her bed.  Both girls love arranging their little furry friends in their baskets.

Monday, September 23, 2013

SMMART Reading: Spelling Noodles

Ahhh, the never ending Spelling Word Lists that come each week.  I actually am really enjoying the time we spend with spelling words lately.  It's a time to be with my daughter for a little bit and connect over homework...quite happily lately! 

Here is another little fun way to do the words.  If the noodle letters are not already separated (by mom) ahead of time, it gets to be a little tedious to find the words AND spell them.  The steam seems to run out a little more quickly, so I would suggest separating the letters you know that she'll use ahead of time into little piles.  This takes a little more time, so if you just want to dump out some noodle letters onto a plate for your child to sort, I might just ask her to build 5 to 10 words this way in between the words she practices with a pencil and paper.  Mix it up.

And after... Alphabet Soup!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

SMMART Math: Scrambled Egg Waffles

I found a super fun idea in the October 2013 Family Fun Magazine...Waffle Eggs!
This was a hit for breakfast, for kids...

...and parents!

Crack 3 eggs and stir them up in a bowl or even a mug...quick, quick.  Pour the eggs evenly between the two waffle iron molds.  3 eggs fills up the two waffle squares perfectly.  If you add milk, then the mixture will go a bit further.  I cracked 9 eggs, added a bit of milk, and it made 8 waffles eggs.  Cook in the waffle maker about 2 minutes 'til done.

So, the SMMART Math begins. 

For younger children, ask them to count the number of squares they can find.  Older children can even include the larger squares that have little squares inside of them.  Even teenagers will be counting squares for a long time if they include all those squares... makes me tired thinking about it:)

Now for Multiplication!  This is a great tool for understanding Times Tables.  I believe the "table" comes from the ol' Times Table:

The waffle is a manipulative to help in the understanding of what it means to say, "2 X 4 = 8".

Cut out a 2 X 4 section of waffle.  Show your child that there are 4 rows of 2 or 2 rows of 4.  "That's what 2 times means.  You have 4 rows twice, or 2 times."

Show a larger example.  6 X 5.  Have your child explain how many rows of 5 there are and that those rows are there 6 times.

A few times of that, while eating each example, makes for eggselent practice. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

SMMART Reading: Reading Nook

I've been trying to figure out how to make this little corner of my daughters' room a cozy reading spot.  This is what I've come up with for now...

Multiple bean bags lend itself to sisters spending time together (that's the hope).

These two little book cases are actually bathroom d├ęcor linen towers that we found discounted years ago.  They have floated around our home searching for their niche.  They are specifically for chapter books.

We had these paper lanterns from  They offer a nice pop of color.  I tied fishing line around the catch on the lantern and tied a small loop on the other end of the line to hang from the ceiling.  I just pushed a pushpin into the ceiling and bent it so the head end of the pin would catch the loop.

Maybe a nice overstuffed chair instead of the beanbags would be more inviting.  Always tweaking.  Here are some other photos of reading nooks that make me want to pick up a book: click here for a tutorial
(Considering putting up Rain Gutter Shelving alongside the bunkbed walls in my girls' room)

Basement Ideas / kids reading nook~
(Might just have to look into a hanging chair instead of the beanbags...because I know my girls would want to sit in that...and maybe grab a book while they're at it.)
(This 3D wall art is pricey...but pretty amazing!  They have dinosaurs, dragons, butterflies...)
(How about a Teepee or a Tent?  Maybe instead of the beanbags...or shove the beanbags inside a tent?  That would be FUN!)

Monday, September 2, 2013

SMMART Reading: Gel Pens

First week of school ushered in the beginning of homework whining... oh what fun!  So, I jumped on Amazon and I ordered a box of Fiskars Gel Pens...They arrived today...OH WHAT FUN!!!

My girls JUMPED at the chance to write their spelling words and math in the array of colors, swirls and sparkles before them!

The gel pens are reserved for homework only so they look forward to using them.  I think when the gel pen newness loses it's luster I'll bring out the colored paper.

No whining today...well, not as much:)  Do you have any simple tricks to make homework a little easier to accomplish?  I'd love to hear them!

Even brought about an unexpected and much appreciated love note!


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