Teaching Heart Mom

Just a Mom With a Teaching Heart. Find fun activities to do with your kiddos and students (infant to age 10). www.teachingheart.net blog

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Have You Counted Your Blessings Today?

We all have those days when we think the World is out to get us... Nothing goes right. The kids are bad all day, your husband left you a mess to clean up, and you don't have enough money for that extra summer camp you want to put your child in. It seems like we (me included) are always looking at the greener grass our neighbors have. You know, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." I always tell myself that quote when I start to want more or want better... I try to put a positive spin on the my life and try to remember to count my blessings.

Each of us has a purpose and greater reason for our existence and only God knows our great plan... For that reason, I count my blessings and know all that seems bad could be worse. I am thankful for my many blessings... You feel especially blessed when you hear about others who are suffering and if you are like me, you may wonder why you are so lucky to be blessed and you pray that tragedy does not strike you or the ones you love. I guess it is only human to feel this way. I suppose I am thinking about this because I am getting ready to take part in The Relay For Life of Peters Township. I Relay for those friends and family who have struggled with Cancer or who have lost their battle to Cancer. I relay in the hopes that my small part will help the future of my friends or family who may someday be diagnosed with Cancer.

Yesterday as I was preparing for a Relay meeting and working on the Relay website, I took a break and read some of my favorite blogs. As I was reading the Mom Dot blog, I came across this Manic Mother blog. Looks like an awesome blog... This blogger was just hit with a tragedy we all (parents in general) pray we never have to face... Her son (just turned 2), was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia . I cried when I read the story of her recent tragedy. As a mom, I pray daily that my children will remain safe and healthy. Sometimes I have to remind myself of how lucky I am to have two healthy children. Reading about Ezra reminded me how blessed I am at the moment and how I need to help those who aren't as fortunate as I am or those who are suffering and that is why I relay! Please hop over to Manic Mother and if you have a few dollars to spare use her donation bar to make a donation or hop over to the Relay for Life page and make a donation to American Cancer Society... Most importantly, pray and hope for a cure!

Now go hug your kids!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

End of The Year Gifts - From the Teacher...

The end of the school year is coming up quickly. I would like to share two great ideas for Teachers to give to their students as a farwell gift and something unique to give to your favorite teacher. The first is a poem (which I wrote that deals with playdoh and ending the year). You print the poem and the printable playdoh recipe on cardstock. Attach it to a can of playdoh and a cookie cutter and you are good to go.

If you are interested in the poem printable, it is found on the Teaching Heart End of Year Packet which you can buy and see here:

Here is a picture of my friend Amy's finished play-doh gifts for her preschool class...

Also found on this page is a wrapper to wrap a candybar in for an end of the year treat. This is found at : http://www.teachingheart.net/endoftheyearpage.html

Also, here is a Beach Pail filled with hands-on learning fun. If time allows this week, I will upload the printables that I have in my bucket! So check back...

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Can't Go to the Beach... EAT the Beach!

My little man had his first full day of school, a practice day for next year. When asked, do you like Kindergarten days or First Grade Days better, he said, "First grade days!" So that is good. It was nice not to rush away from my two free hours to go pick him up at 11:30.

Anyhow, today was beach day at school. I got called to make the snack. Of course I was excited... I came with these little beach cups of pure yummy-ness! for the lable on the cup, I cropped a picture of his teacher and put a graphic of sunglasses and a beach hat over her picture along with the title, "Piatt's Edible Beach - Swim at your own risk!"

Inside the cups were little beaches. Basically pudding and crushed vanilla oreos (sand) layered in a clear plastic cup. The top layer, I added some blue icing for the water and a fish shaped fruit snack to swim in the sea of icing... Also, the plastic palm tree is from Oriental Trading.

If you would like the recipe, read my post here from last summer. This is the recipe I used.

My son said that the kids laughed at the picture of his teacher & everyone wanted more! So I guess they were a hit.

These would be fun for a picnic this summer!

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Pittsburgh - A Little Girl's Dream Play Place

Did you hear????

Teaching Heart Mom has been nominated for Best Pittsburgh Parent Blog in Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks Awards! We need your help to win! You can vote for us once a day, every day, from now until July 15 at

Truthfully, I was a bit surprised to be nominated as a "Pittsburgh Parent Blog", since the majority of my posts don't mention Pittsburgh life or attractions... Still it is an honor and I do hope to win. Looks like it will be a tough go as Burgh Baby seems to be getting the majority of the votes without even having a button or announcement on their blog??? Still if Teaching Heart Mom wins you will see a week of free printables for you to download daily... So ya better vote if you like free educational printables!!!

So, for those who landed here looking for Pittsburgh Family Fun News, you are in luck! I have two things to share that are great family fun. One is the Peters Relay for Life in McMurray, PA at Peters Township high school Stadium on May 30, 2009. Start a team or make a donation to Relay For Life. You do not have to be registered to walk the track on Relay Day. There will be live bands, DJ's, games for the kids, food, auction baskets, and lots more. It is a family fun event with a festival feel. Just bring a few dollars to spend for a good cause! It is a fun day for all ages!
For more details, click here!

The title of this post is, "A Little Girl's Dream Play Place!" I am a little hesitant to tell you about this great find... It isn't over crowded yet and I really LOVE this place and so does my three year old! I wish I could have spent hours playing at a Lilliput Play area when I was a kiddo. Now your kiddos can play from 10 till 3, Mondays - Fridays at the McMurray, PA Lilliput Town Center!!! $8.00 a child is a little pricey, but a nice treat. It is adorable and if you child likes make believe, this is their heaven! A town of fun play rooms. There is an ice cream parlor, post office, doctor's office, beauty shop, grocery store, gas station, and fire station. Each area is complete with accessories to match. My daughter had a blast scooping play ice cream cones and playing beauty shop with the pretend hair dryer and make up.

The lady who was working when we were there said ages up o ten were welcome. I suggest to age seven max. Perhaps older girls would enjoy it... but my son would probably get bored and cause trouble after about 20 minutes.

There is a nice seating area for mommy too. Coffee comes with mom's stay. Also they have wireless access and magazines for you to read. It is genius!!! My thumbs up for rainy day fun!

Below is a video of the play area.

Go Pens!!!

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Time to Play Outside...

I know I will take this statement back mid July; but, I can't wait till school is done for the year and we can be outside more. I love the summer months. I am really lucky to have a great group of girlfriends (some will love me for the pics. on this post) who enjoy park hopping with their kids. It's so much more fun for mommy to go to the park with mommy friends. It's funny how I can stay at the park over two hours when I have some mommy friends with me. If I go alone, my kids are lucky to get to play 30 minutes before I am ready to move on.

Many days we pack a lunch and let the kids eat at the park... this equals no clean-up at home... ahhhh, just another benefit of the summer months. Many of us smart mommies pack an outside box we keep in our car. My box usually has chalk, balls, parachute, towels, trucks, bubbles, Frisbees, and other outside toys.

Our Spring so far has been lacking in the good weather department, so I am even more looking forward to outside time. In the spirit of the summer that is coming, I wanted to share some idea/links I have been saving that all deal with outside fun...

Adventures of a Flake shares this outside fun idea... Throw some large paper up on an outdoor upright surface and let the kids create outdoors.

Frugal Family Fun Blog tells us how to make our own sidewalk paint. I promised my son we would try this... Put on your favorite pair of flipflops and surf on over to Flipflops and Applesauce to download the street sign scavenger hunt printable.

Keep those tin cans! Add some string and some sticky foam stickers and let the kids make their own stilts. Crafty Suzanne can tell you more!!! This would be a fun birthday party craft for an outdoor birthday party!

Check out the cool scavenger hunts at Christian Parent.
I think I will add a puzzle to my outdoor park box after reading this;
Jigsaw Puzzle Hunt
Get a kid's jigsaw puzzle that has large pieces (20 or less is optimal). Hide the puzzle pieces all over the play area. Kids have to find the pieces and put the puzzle together to win. If you want more than one team to compete, paint the backs of each team's puzzle pieces a different color.

Bubbles, Bubbles... We use these so much. I usually buy my bubbles at the dollar store. However, I am considering making my own bubbles with the recipe and ideas at Make and Take.

No Time for Flashcards shares the idea of a outside toy car wash. I have even had my kids wash the back of the house to keep them busy. Sometimes I give them real pain brushes and some water and have them paint the porch or swing set with water. Another idea I have seen is an outdoor baby doll bath.

I love, love, love these great ideas at Family Fun... Go check it out. You know I will be making those special dice!

Kids love the parachute... Moogie shares great parachute games. I'll bring the parachute to the park if someone wants to play these games with the kids.

Looking to teach your child how to play some outdoor games. Check out this list!!!

Time to end with something that made me laugh... probably because I can totally relate... My child attends two bible camps... so yeah, I can relate!!! Go read Six-point summer survival guide for bad (and cheap) parents - Note to my girlfriends... The IKEA idea sounds mighty good... you in?

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Earn Free Printables if We Win!!!!

Check us out! We've been nominated for Best Pittsburgh Parent Blog in Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks Awards! We need your help to win! You can vote for us once a day, every day, from now until July 15 at

For Local Blog
in Pittsburgh

I am not sure how we got nominated or who did the nominating... but it is exciting to see us listed as nominations next to some other great Pittsburgh Blogs... You don't have to be from Pittsburgh to vote!!! So please click the nomination picture daily and then click Teaching Heart Mom!!! I would love to see Teaching Heart Mom win. It would just make my summer! Thanks for your support.

If we do win... you will see a week of free printables on Teaching Heart Mom from Teaching Heart! So go vote and you will win too!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Erupt a Volcano!!!

One of my favorite activities when I taught was during an earth unit. We would discuss volcanoes and make our own. The kids loved this simple to do and easy to set-up activity.

My son had a friend over yesterday and I try to do one fun thing when he has a friend over. Yesterday we read the book below about volcanoes, watched a real volcano explode via you tube, then made our own volcanoes, and finally drew a volcano exploding... As my son put it; "thanks mom, this was so much fun!"

Here is a video of the volcano we made in action:

How did we do it???
First we made a volcano...

We used a pie tin (they come in 3's at the dollar store).

We put a baby food jar in the center.

We then covered the baby food jar with red fusion clay. We made it stick to the pie plate by making sure we presses the bottom part of the fusion clay to the plate.

After the Volcano was made.
We put two tablespoons of basking soda in our jar.
We added two tablespoons of water.
For colorful lava we added a drop of purple food coloring.
We used a baby spoon to mix the three things up. (This is fun for the kids... tell them they need to mix it at least a 100's. They don't really need to mix it much, but they have so much fun doing it you might as well keep them busy.)

To Make It Erupt
You need about 2 tablespoons of vinegar. I put them in a small cup so the kiddos can dump them all at once. You can repeat until the volcano is done erupting... So much fun.

With this recipe you can wash out the volcano and do it all over again. We did it yesterday and today.

Classroom Management Tips:
-Measure out the baking soda & water into Dixie cups. Have each child come up to get a Dixie cup mixture, mixing spoon, and their choice of color. Have them mix in the cup and then pour into the volcano.

-Pass out pre-measured vinegar in Dixie cups.

- Have the kiddos draw what happened


My kids loved this YOUTUBE video!!!

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beach balls Everywhere...

The dollar stores have out all of their summer fun treats; like, BEACH BALLS! Here are a few ideas of ways to use those beach balls.

1.) Write out the numbers on the top and bottom sections. Throw the ball gently to a child and they have to add the numbers where there thumbs are.

2.) Another game is to sit in a circle and count to a specific number. Whoever says that number has to go to the center of the circle. Keep going till there are two left. Everyone yells showdown and they play till we we have a winner . I have done this with counting by 2's, 5's, 10's, days of the week, months, etc. Easy and quick and they really like it a lot!

3.) Today my son and I tried to see how many times we could throw it to each other without dropping it. We set a timer for one minute to see how many times we could throw it to each other.

4.) Like musical chairs, but with a beach ball. Pass the ball around the circle, when the music stops the person holding the ball is out!

5.) Write your child's site words on the ball. Through the ball to your child, whatever their right hand is on is the word they need to read.

6.) Beach Ball Coloring!! After coloring the picture my son dictated a story about the picture and I wrote it out. Then he reread the story he dictated.

7.) Scholastic shares ideas to use with your baby.

8.) Masking tape one Princess Polly Pocket for each child all around a beach ball. Turn on your child's favorite music and pass the beach ball around. When the music turns off, whoever has the ball gets to rip off a Princess and keep it! Then that child can sit down and the rest can continue playing until all the Princesses are gone. Great for parties -- or for anytime special occasions.
9.) Read a Beach Ball Book to your kiddos

10.) Have fun in the sun with a Beach Ball sprinkler
11.) Teaching Heart's End of the Year Packet has Beach Ball Printables. Go look!!!

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Bucket Time

Well, the Have You Filled a Bucket Contest ended yesterday. I loved reading every one's bucket filling thoughts on their blogs and facebook posts. It sounds like through blogging and facebooking we managed to fill many buckets. Thanks to all who participated... Unfortunately, we can only have two winners. I used a random number generator to pick the two winners... Below are the random numbers: 18 & 8!

Congrats to 8.) Jennifer Swaney said...
I facebooked this! jennswaney@yahoo.com
and congrats to 18.) deepbluetide said...
i blogged this!http://deepbluetide.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/bucket-contest/

They both win the book, the activities to match and two Teaching Heart CDROM's!

I had my son pick an extra number... he picked, 9!
9 was jrtgirlqc said...
I facebooked this!!!!lcaifa@herricks.org

This person may choose a Teaching Heart CDROM of their choice to be sent to them FREE!!!

Thanks again to all who participated... If you do not have this great book in your home or classroom library, you should hop over to Amazon and buy it!

Also, here are a few other matching books...

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