Letter Roads Free Preschool Printable

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Letter roads

I developed these little Letter Roads to help my preschooler with fine motor skills & letter recognition.  She loved following the “roads” to help the characters get to their destinations.  Please feel free to use this free printable, for personal use only, in your homeschool classroom! :)

Download Free PDF Printable Here: One Line Letters

Making Jam – First Harvest

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On the hunt for Jam Recipes lately!  I need a way to use all that rhubarb that is coming up! :)

So, I tried three recipes yesterday.  The first is this reduced sugar recipe from Local Kitchen which is quite yummy, though I think I would decrease the lemon next time and add pectin.  It did not set up at all for me.  Maybe I can’t make jam, who knows!

Reduced Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

The second recipe I tried was this one from Rhubarb Central.  Rhubarb Conserves with Orange, Walnuts & Raisins.  It was AMAZINGLY delicious, but also needs pectin.

Rhubarb Orange Conserve

And the third, this one, also from Rhubarb Central.  Seriously an awesome site for all things rhubarb!  Again, didn’t set up for me.  Maybe I really can’t make jam.  Hmmm…

Rhubarb Orange Jam

I’m on a quest for jams with less sugar… any ideas?  The first one with all the lemon is decent on the sugar side, but the other two… yeah, too much sugar for me.  I know, it’s jam!  It’s supposed to have sugar, right!?  Well, I can’t have sugar but I still want Jam!!

All Recipe Nutrition Information calculated at CalorieCount!  Coolest thing ever!

If you have any links or recipe suggestions for reduced-sugar homemade jams, please do let me know!  I think for now I’ll be making the orangey ones with less sugar and added pectin.  We’ll see how that goes.

Wheat Free Buckwheat & Oat Pancakes

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So, we recently found out my husband has to eat wheat free.  We’ve been on a 4 month journey to finding replacements for all our wheat-y foods!  Sheesh, it’s been a trip for sure.  But we’ve found some favorites… like this Buckwheat & oat pancake recipie my husband invented after getting so fed up with all the nastyness of Gluten-Free “bread” stuffs.  Seriously, rice flour!?  Eeew.  Besides, it’s not whole grain, and I wasn’t willing to start using white flours.  So… we invented this pancake recipe!  I hope you enjoy… we actually prefer it over the whole wheat pancakes we used to eat!

UPDATE : we’ve started using more oat flour than barley because it’s easier. I haven’t updated the recipie card, but instead of the barley flour, we use oat now. Same amount.

Buckwheat & Barley Pancakes

Also feel free to check out my pin boards for other Wheat Free Recipies!

Wheat Free Snacks/Sides

Wheat Free Breakfast

Wheat Free Desserts

Wheat Free Main Dishes/Sides

Wheat Free Buckwheat & Barley Pancakes or Waffle Recipie

DIY Unique Built-In Bunk Beds!

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Pregnant with #4 in a three bedroom house, we find it’s time to start stacking kids!  So, this weekend, we built one of two bunks! :)  Here’s the process… not tutorial, sorry.  We had to jump through some pretty unique hoops to build these beds, but if you have a handy husband, maybe you can figure it out too!

The inspiration for this project came from Pinterest – where else!?! Here’s some photos.

Photo Credit

Photo Credit – not sure where the photo is on this site… it’s where Pinterst brought me.

For our “Blueprints” we used Microsoft Publisher.  Did you know that you can zoom waaaaay out in Publisher and create actual life-size to scale “blueprints” of sorts?  You’ll get all your measurements just the way you want them!

Here’s a shot of the empty closet.  I have the top section of a desk stuck up on the shelf for extra shelving.  It’s screwed to the wall.

The kids a re fairly excited for this project to begin!  We’ve been collecting supplies for quite a while & they are more than ready for their “bunk beds”!

Phase 1

Demolition.  The closet was 4 inches too short for the toddler mattresses, so we dug into the wall for the extra space.  On the other side of this wall is a tiny hall coat closet.  We (“we” being my husband with the power tools, and me behind the camera!)… we had to cut through the first layer of drywall, remove the studs, rebuild the wall’s structure, and build the bunks.  Thank God I have a handy husband!

The completed “hole in the wall”… now to remove the studs and rebuild the structure of the wall.

Phase 2:

Construction!  Here’s the bottom bunk frame… about 12″ off the floor to make room for some “drawers” and other storage underneath.

Measuring for the top frame

Installing the top bunk platform… about 30″ from the bottom one.

And then Gramma showed up for a visit and was more than excited to help!  Yeah!

Phase 3:

Shelving

We scavenged these headboard style shelves out of another shelf I’d found in the thrift store free pile!  This wasn’t in the original “plans” but I’m glad we added them!

Phase 4:

Ladder & Railing

While I was at the store buying some “Hot Mud” (Fast drying drywall mud for all the dents in the wall from the demo part), Jesse built all this for the ladder & railing!

Finished Ladder & Railing

A view of the shelves

Phase 5:

Sanding.  Thankfully a neighbor had an electric sander we could borrow!

Phase 6:

Painting… Almost done!!!

Color #1 Finished

Color #2

Color #2 Done… That means the painting is done!!!!

Phase 7:

Toyboxes… we had two but they were too tall, so Jesse cut them down about 4 inches allowing them to be “drawers” under the bottom bed.

Phase 8:

Bedding and a final photo shoot… and two proud parents! :)  Yeah.

Here’s a view with the entertainment center turned play kitchen (which a friend of mine blogged about in case you’re interested).

BTW:  Test subject #1 says the beds turned out perfect!

We don’t yet have a toddler mattress for the bottom bunk (working on that), so I stole a patio chair cushion from the back yard.  It’ll do as a “reading nook” space until we get a mattress & move LaLa in here! :)

Sequencing File Folder Games: Button Sequencing & Number Sequencing

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Number Sequencing File Folder Game – FREE Printable

Object of the game: Place number tiles in numerical order on the numbered or blank playing boards.

FREE Printable Here: NumberSequencing :: TheyCallMeGranola :: File Folder Game :: FREE Printable

Button Lacing Sequencing File Folder Game – FREE Printable

Object of the game:  Lace buttons in the order shown on the file folder… color & shape orders shown.

FREE Printable Here: ButtonSequencing :: TheyCallMeGranola :: File Folder Game :: FREE Printable

More File Folder Games: Owl Counting, Emotion Matching, Leaf Matching & Rainbow Shades

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Here are some more FREE Printable File Folder Games for Tots & Preschoolers!  Had so much fun making these!  Enjoy! :)

Owl Counting is a game that includes 12 Owls with numbers on them.

The Playing Board (inside the folder) has 12 tiles with flowers on them.

The Object is to place the Owls in number sequence on the game board either by counting the flowers on each tile or placing the numbers in order by memory.

Click Here for Free Printable:  OwlCounting.TheyCallMeGranola.FFG

Emotion Matching is a game of facial recognition.

The Playing Pieces are pictures of people making Sad, Happy, or Goofy Faces.

The playing board is divided into those three sections.

The object is to sort the faces onto the correct page.

Click Here for Free Printable: Emotion Matching . FREE Printable . TheyCallMeGranola

Leaf Matching is a “Puzzle Game”.

The pieces are various types of colored leaves.

The game board consists of two pages of grayscale leaves.

The object is to place the colored leaves on the matching grayscale leaf.

Click Here for Free Printable:  Leaf Matching Printable.TheyCallMeGranola.FFG

Rainbow Shades is a color identification & matching game.  You’ll need to gather some supplies of your own for this one!  Go to your local Home Deopot, Walmart or other paint supply store & collect free paint chips in the colors represented here.

The game pieces are the paint chips.

The playing board is a grid with select colors represented at the top.

The object of the game is to sort the various shades of paint chips into the appropriate color column.

Click Here for Free Printable: Rainbow Shades (Paint Chips) – They Call Me Granola.FFG

I hope you enjoy these printables.  If you would like me to keep creating these & uploading them to share, please encourage me by letting me know in the comments! :)  Thanks for hanging out! :)

Again, please respect the “freeness” of these printables by not using them for profit.  Print for personal use only!  Thanks.

File Folder Games for Tots & Preschoolers: Color Matching & Shape Matching

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So, my last post was about my clothesline which makes you feel all warm & sunny… However… A quick glance at the calendar reminds me that winter is fast approaching around here!  Colder days are coming.  Days when the kids won’t be able to comfortably play outside… Days when all the doors & windows will be closed, the heater running.  Days of being cooped up, snowed in, all covered in clothes from your toes to your nose.  Sigh… Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant & nesting comes earlier and earlier with each Nut we add to this bowl of Granola.  But, I’ve started storing up for the long winter months.  Not just food in the freezer… not collecting the seeds my garden’s produced… though I’ve been doing that as well.  What I’m busy with now is building a stash of activities for those little Nuts who will be going mad during the winter if I don’t provide interesting things to do occasionally to get their imaginations working.

I found a whole passel of “File Folder Game” ideas on Pinterest (here’s a link to my File Folder Game Pin Board) … gosh, I could spend a whole day perusing that site!  I came up with A LOT of ideas & printables which I’ll send with my Mr. to his office to print.  But I’ve been making a few of my own as well and it’s totally been fun!  Today I got the kids involved making a Paper Doll one.  It’s my favorite one so far!  I don’t have a printable for you (should I work on that?) because I just cut everything out of scrapbook paper, thanks to a good friend of mine who bequeathed to me her entire scrapbooking collection last year!

I also made a color matching one (Free Printable Here : Color Matching.TheyCallMeGranola.FFG)…

 

And a Shape “Puzzle” one (Free Printable Here : Shape Matching.TheyCallMeGranola.FFG)

They were totally easy & quick to make and my oldest absolutely loves them.  I think in order for Monster (2 1/2 year old boy!) to use these I’ll need to laminate things for him (or cover with packing tape since I don’t have a laminator).

FYI… the printables look a little different as I just made them on the computer.  Same idea though.  Feel free to share freely, but do not use the printables for profit please.  I hope that you can use these to keep your kids occupied this winter.

Do you have any free File Folder Game Printables you made that you’d be willing to share?

Also, please comment below if you’d like me to work on a Paper Doll Printable.  I’d be happy to do it if there is interest!

Happy Thoughts

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This is my happy today!  Am I strange, or do you feel happy when the view from the window is clean laundry fluttering in the breeze?  To me, a clothesline is beautiful… beautiful in it’s practicality, beautiful in its simplicity, beautiful in its peacefulness.  It’s so relaxing to me to drag a basket of clothes to the line and stand in the sun hanging them out to dry… the cool wet laundry draped over my shoulder as I mozey along, soaking in Vitamin D as I clip each clean item to the line.  My absolute favorite part is this…

She’s my little Monkey and she’s 3 1/2.  Makes my heart swell with pride to see her learning to be the wonderful homemaker I know she’ll be someday!  Her squeaky little voice exclaiming in wonder, “I did dat!”  A beautiful thing!

There’s just something marvelous about using a resource normally taken for granted to serve your family in something as simple as laundry.  All winter long I throw the clothes in the dryer dreaming of using my clothesline again!  My husband built me this one this year… from scraps of lumber we found at a construction site.

I can hang three full loads out there… including all the diaper wipes & family cloth, soiled bedding, towels, and clothes!  You know… it actually ends up making laundry take LESS time!  I can keep my washer full & running instead of letting it stand full of wet clothes while the dryer struggles to keep up.  This way, I usually have all the laundry done before lunchtime (which is at 11am around here), then after naps & snack (3pm) the kids & I head outside to take it all down.  A quick tumble in the dryer on “no heat air dry” and we have laundry ready to put away (because the only thing I don’t like to be crunchy is laundry!).  The simplicity, the sense of satisfaction, the joy of it all… that’s my Happy Thought today.

Happy Thoughts aside though… there’s something even more magical about the clothesline… It’s stain-fighting powers!  What an inexpensive practical way to reduce the stains in your laundry… Look at these diapers!

Not that I’m afraid of a little stain, especially on a diaper… but… eeew!  That’s a bad one!

But look… Stain-Be-Gone!  Thank you Mr. Sunshine!

I never knew having a clothesline could bring joy to my life… until I had one two years ago.  Since then, I haven’t gone back!  Maybe the neighbors don’t think it’s pretty… sorry for that… but I think the view out my dining room window is beautiful… especially when there’s a flock of little rascals running around making up games in the sunshine.  Life is beautiful.

A Garden Update

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I am incredibly excited about our garden this year!  It’s growing beautifully and soon we’ll have loads of tomatoes.  I’ve already harvested the herbs so they won’t be pictured in this post as, well, they aren’t very pretty anymore!  But the tomatoes!  Ooooooh the tomatoes!  Check this out!

Here’s the two I bought at the Farmers’ Market… On the left is a Black Krim tomato… a GORGEOUS fruit (I’ll show you in a minute).  On the right is a Rose tomato – kind of like a grape tomato.  I stuck the kids tractor in there to show the size of these plants!  I’m not even sure how I’ll pick the fruit off the Rose because it’s so crammed full inside the tomato cage!  The Krim is so tall & heavy we had to tie it with a string to a the nearby lilac bush!  And they are both bursting with fruit.

 

 

Here’s the underside of the Black Krim!

Here’s a cluster of Rose Tomatoes… do you see how dense this plant is?  Amazing!

And here’s a picture of our first ripe Black Krim fruit…  Isn’t it gorgeous!  The outside goes from a forest green around the top & fades to a deep red.  The flavor was AMAZING!

 

Onward… these next two tomatoes we got from Costco, and had I been thinking straight when we planted them, I would have put them in larger cages!  The ones that came with the plants were decidedly NOT tall enough.  On the left is another Black Krim & on the right is a Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato.  These are also bursting with fruit & I hope they make it because the vines are bending all the way to the ground over the short little cages.  Live and learn.

 

A shot of the ripe Sweet 100… I think I’ll let the kids pick those for snack.  They’ve been checking the plants for ripe tomatoes every day for weeks!  They will be very excited!

 

And last but not least, the Bell Pepper!  Got this little guy at the Farmer’s Market as well.  I wish I had a picture of what he looked like in the pot.  I tried to grow him in a pot like the guy said, but he just never perked up.  Never even got another bloom.  My husband decided one day that we were going to just try putting him in the ground in our Back to Eden garden.  Since then he’s put on over 8 new blooms and has a 2″ fruit!  He’s quite a bit taller as well!

 

Said fruit…

 

 

At any rate, I’m excited about our wonderful garden & can’t wait for next years’ plans!

Oh, and by the way… I am eating bread that I just baked on the front porch IN MY CROCK POT!  Here’s the recipe.  It really does taste quite good, and is apparently fool proof.  I didn’t have any eggs left so I substituted flaxmeal for the egg.  Simply put 2 Tablespoons ground flaxmeal in a one cup pyrex.  Add  boiling water until mixture reaches 1/4 cup.  Whisk until the consistency of an egg!  Easy peasy.

Anyway… substituted for the egg, and accidentally heated the milk way too hot so I cooled that with a couple ice cubes!  Pathetic… I’ve never made such a mess of bread.  But it tastes DELICIOUS and is a nice texture.  I’d probably have a hard time slicing it thin for a sandwich, but that could be my tom foolery with the egg bit too!

How’s your garden growing this year?