Free Printable 30 day Skin Care Routine Tracker

So it is 2016 you guys! I love new years, new months, and even new weeks really. Every Monday I am sure I am going to accomplish some major goal that I haven’t been able to accomplish and start some new habit that’s going to lead to my success.

My favorite thing to do to achieve my goals are charts and challenges. I love adding little stickers to my planner and keeping charts and graphs to track my progress.

I am working on a bunch of lovely printables to help me stay on top of my goals in 2016 and I can’t wait to share them with all of you.

(Scroll to the bottom to download your Skincare Routine Printable)

So among my many goals is getting on track with a skincare routine. I tend to complain a lot about the state of my skin and then do nothing about it, because I’m not sure what to do and I’m sure I don’t have the time to figure out how.

Well, as it turns out, that course of action hasn’t improved the condition of my skin in anyway. So I’m going to quit with the way of excuses and keep myself accountable by using this, 30 day skincare printable tracker and inviting a friend (in this case my beautiful sister) to play along. If you are a checklist lover like me than this may be perfect for you, and I hope many of you will find it useful.

30 day skincare routine printable preview titleOn this printable I have provided a suggested skincare routine. It’s a pretty general list and I’m sure I have not covered everything you might be using, but this can still be useful to keep track of making sure not to miss a day. There are so many great products between night cream, and serums, acne treatments and cleanser there is too much to cover.

I personally, don’t like putting 12 items on my face all at once. I like to do something like…

  • One or two products to remove dirt (cleanse and exfoliate or cleanser and make-up remover),
  • Toner
  • Something to help with under eye circles
  • Night cream or Antiaging
  • Moisturizer

Unfortunately I am super inconsistent and always miss a step or 2.

I am going to try and work on adding in one product consistently every month or couple of months. This month I am going to try a night cream I received as a bonus gift with purchase. I will also be removing make-up with a wipe before cleansing, and adding a hand cream to my daily routine.

I’m very interested to see what results I might have if only I were consistent with my skin care.

Do you have any skincare products you swear by? Please share in the comments.

30 day skincare routine printable previewYou can find the suggested skincare regimens at the top of the sheet separated by day and night routines.

I plan on starting my weeks on Mondays, but of course if you are a Sunday person, or what have you, you may begin whenever. The idea is to take it 30 days at a time (even though I realize the months may have more or less that that). After the 30 days, I will review my skincare routine, based on my results or how I liked or disliked a product, restock and start over.

I will probably keep these in a binder where I can keep notes and look back on my progress. Hopefully at some point it will just be a given that I do my skincare routine in the morning out of habit, like brushing my teeth, but until then this lovely printable will be a fun tool to use.

Of course, besides the skincare regimen list and the AM/PM check boxes, I added in some lovely flowers and a graphic to make it pretty. Pretty things keep me motivated. I am a very visual person and plain black text just does nothing for me.

So wash your face, moisturize, treat , and then check your boxes. Here is to a more consistent skincare routine and a year filled with goal conquering.

>> Click Here to Download your Free Printable 30 day, day and night Skincare Routine Tracker <<<

It is a .pdf file, so just download open and print and you should be ready to go. Set your print settings to ‘print without border’ for the best results printing.

Have a beautiful day,

Ashley

2016 Year at a Glance Full Page Printable

2015 and 2016 year at a glance full page free printableHello all, we are just about ready to start school again around here, and like last year I am going to be compiling my own homeschool planner from a series of printables.

I use a full page planner for my home school planner and print it myself and have it bound at an office supply store. The binding cost is less than $5, so it is a great option for me. I wanted my planner to be gorgeous and colorful, so I went to work making the pages just the way I wanted including quotes and colorful monthly dividers and I will give you all a closer look at that planner as it comes together. Hoping to have it completely printed by this time next week. I have a few updates I need to do to it, before I print it for next years use.

One of the pages I am updating is the year at a glance. We do August to June for home school around here, and found it most fluid to just have each full calendar year on each page.

I added a few things I found useful to me that were not available to me in my planner from last year.

Features:

  • Days of the week headings
  • 6 week per month layout allows for no overlapping days
  • Note section at the bottom of each month to add a (tiny bit) of additional info as needed
  • Colorful monthly titles

2016 free full page printable preview

>> Download HERE 2016 Year at a Glance Full Page Free Printable Calendar<<

I love how it turned out and think that they are just perfect for my needs I will write in a few important dates here and add washi tape to mark off sections when we will not have school because of birthdays and holidays, and I will share that with you when I am done.
2015 free full page printable preview
If you need it I have also included the 2015 full page calendar I created for my planner.

>>Download Here – 2015 Year at a Glance Full Page Free Printable Calendar <<

Hope you all enjoy these as much as I do.

Lowercase Alphabet Flash Cards
Free Printable

It’s quickly approaching the end of the school year, and I try to take my time and let my children learn at their own pace as it is one of the many benefits of home school. Around this time though we are reviewing all of the concepts taught so far this year in order to see where anyone may be struggling. For some topics I will just make a note to spend extra time here when we start the next grade, depends really on what the material is. My son who just turned 5 last week is in K4 this year and is having a tough time learning his lower case letters. Last year when my daughter was in K4 she only really struggled with 4 of the lower case letters that all look terribly similar (p,q,b,d), so this was not something I had to deal with.

At this point in the year though we are starting to read words, and I prefer that he read them in all lower case, but he is having some trouble with that. I am thrilled how well he know his letter sounds, and I am sure that he can learn the lower case letters before it is time to start K5 if we just spend about 5 minutes a day working on lower case letter activities.

We are daily matching lower case letters to their matching uppercase counter parts, but my son really loves flash cards so I typed these up for him last night and wanted to share.

I am definitely going to laminate mine, and we may add some washi tape to the edges to give them a little extra color, plus I love washi tape and have lots of it around, so why not.

I don’t always have time, but when I do I love making my kids flash cards and work sheets. I love adding their favorite graphics like dinosaurs or princesses. Often, by adding these personal touches I am able to tell them “remember what we learned on our dinosaur worksheet?”. That is wonderful, but sometimes I would like them to have something super simple that just has the information and no clues or hints.

With that in mind I set out to make these flash cards. Worked out great for me because I was able to make these flash cards in less than 2 hours last night. When I am adding multiple graphics sometimes I will have to work on things over the course of days or weeks.

I used 2 different fonts so that these cards would reflect the manuscript characters I am teaching them in home school. Next year in K5 I do take time to teach the alternative ways to write manuscript letter a and g and other letters that can commonly be seen in different fonts. We also practice with different books, because you can never tell how each letter will be written from book to book. Hopefully by the time we are learning the different ways manuscript letters can be written we will already have learned these basic lower case letters.

colorful lower case flash cards free printable from smartandsavvymom.com

This pdf file is set up to be printed directly onto index cards. I prefer to do index card sizes because they are the easiest to laminate with the pre-sized laminate sheets. To laminate these cards I will be using these >> Thermal Laminating Pouches, 3.7 Inches x 5.2 Inches, 20 Pouches from Amazon.com.

Make sure that when you are printing these that you select your paper size “3×5 Index cards” and that you select whether or not you want to use black ink only or print in color.

>>Download Here – 3 by 5 lower case alphabet flash cards – <<

colorful lower case alphabet flash cards sixe 3x5 free printableTip: once printed, laminate these cards so that they will be more durable. Print multiple copies to use these cards to spell words.

Hope you find these cards very useful. Please leave any comments, questions or request in the comments.

Counting Down
15 Busy Kid Activities

conting down return from trip to china keeping the kids busy while daddy is out of townWhen my husband told me he was going to have to travel to China sometimes for his new job I was so thrilled for him. It is pretty unpleasant to travel with a lot of small children (and expensive) so we don’t do it, but whenever you have the opportunity to see another part of the world that is exciting.

So my husband has been in his new position a few months now, and came home a few weeks ago with the news that they were actually in the beginning stages of planning a  trip to China. I was very excited, my husband has always traveled some for work so nothing we weren’t used to. However, when he told me he was going to be gone for 15 days I was pretty surprised to say the least.

We live in a new place, we have made a lot of new friends, but you don’t just drop off your 4 kids for hours with people you like. Especially people who just are getting to know you, for fear they won’t want to get to know you anymore.

Honestly I have had a few people offer to help out with my kids, but sometimes I feel like people are just being nice and they don’t really mean it. Also, I feel like people don’t understand how much work it is to take care of 4 kids the ages of my children (6,4,3, and 1) so I don’t want to burden them when they were just trying to be nice.

I am still excited for my husband to see part of the world, I mean the possibility of the washi tape alone (no, but really).

Now I am faced with having to distract my children from missing their father for over 2 weeks. We are going to totally throw off their routine, which is going to cause a problem all on its own, plus their father will be gone, which will also be hard and just so happened that when my husband ended up leaving 2 of them were very ill.

Wow, well the first thing I wanted to do was make them a calendar so they could have a clear visual of when Daddy would return. It is very hard for kids to tell time, and really hard to keep track of so many days like this. So I made a countdown calendar, which really helped them. It also cut down on the constant asking of when daddy would return.

Each day I let them take turns on who would get to make the “x” on the day before.

countdown calendar smartandsavvymomI made sure to make the calendar bright and colorful and added lots of things we would be learning about that week in homeschool. I tried to add one picture for an activity we would do during the day aside from homeschool and church so that they would have some reference for whether the day had passed or not. Really it worked pretty well, and they have really enjoyed using it. I might be encouraged to add a monthly calendar to the fridge for every month, but I would have to plan a lot further in advance.

Turns out that illness had struck our household quite unexpectedly just as my husband was planning the last detail of his trip.

IMG_4559-001

my 3 year old sleeping the day away after becoming ill

I have an 18 month old baby who was sick on the days leading up to my husband’s departure. This illness that has been going around town here was quite messy. For 5 days in a row, I had to change my babies sheets, and wash and dry them, and bathe her (twice) and oh there was also the diaper.

It was a lot, but then just as quickly as it had swept  in it was over, which was great because we were able to go to church a few days later and my kids really look forward to that. Also it was my turn to teach the 3 and 4 year old class, and I didn’t want to let anyone down about that, so we went.

Then on Monday morning, I stepped out of the room to get something from the upstairs of our house and I heard my 3 year old screaming. Honestly, I was not even alarmed as she tends to scream a lot. I figured someone took her toy or her seat on the couch and would deal with it when I got back down there.

When I returned (maybe 2 minutes later) I found my 3 year old standing in front of the couch telling me she was wet, from what we later determined was “spit out.”

There are a lot of such moments as a parent, but we still salvaged what we could of each day, went to church when they were well and to the store (all of us) when we ran out of fresh fruit, vegetables, and bread.

My younger ones were gracious enough to let my oldest use their laps when we ran out of seats in this 3 seat grocery cart

My younger ones were gracious enough to let my oldest use their laps when we ran out of seats in this 3 seat grocery cart

We ended up having to miss 2 weekday evening church services with the kids being sick so I had to do some on the spot brainstorming, but we survived.

Here is what we did for fun and a good distracting time while daddy was away.

1. Clean up games I know this might not seem like the most fun but it was definitely necessary after daddy left. We have a few different games we play that really help the kids enjoy helping mommy without feeling like they are working. My oldest was happy to wash some dishes and make bubbles as she loaded them into the dishwasher. It was a wet mess, but she had a lot of fun.

she loves that turbie twist

she loves that turbie twist

2. Fun at a friend’s house. The next day I took them to a friend’s house who watched them while I had an appointment. That was the most work ever, and I cancelled all future appointments that I had while my husband was away.

3. Painting. After I picked them up from the previous day’s events, I took them all to the dollar store and we picked up some painting activity sets that I think are meant to be for Easter baskets. Each set came with a little bit of paint, a brush, and 2 waxy cardboard sheets to paint on.

another messy night of fun

another messy night of fun

4.Movie Night. My children are not always easily distracted by the television, but I picked up a simple movie from the $5 section at Target and it kept them happy for an evening.

5. & 6. More Painting – This was really great for the older kids who are ages 4 and 6. My 4 year old will be 5 in just a few weeks and they did really well with keeping things pretty neat. My 1 year old did not participate, but my 3 year old was out of control. She did not get to paint for as long as her older siblings.

7. Baking Cookies and Pizza. – We counted this as half of our homeschool day. We were able to talk about the concept of one half which we have been reviewing in school and were able to have a lot of educational messy type fun.

8. & 9. Puzzle Time – I had found some puzzles on clearance, they were 24 piece puzzles, each box had 3 puzzles in it and were $.25 each. So for a $1 I was able to buy 12 puzzles and we put them together over the course of 2 evenings. Actually I don’t think we got to all of them.

10. & 11. Evening Church – Our church has ministries for the children on Sunday nights as well as opportunities for the adults so, like we always do, we did this both of the Sunday’s my husband was out of town.

12. Park Visit – There is a little park at the entrance of our subdivision that is a bit too far for the kids to walk to. Since we happened to have our only car while my husband wasn’t using it for work, I was able to take the kids to the park for about an hour on Saturday since we did not have school.

13. Craft Time. One of the evenings I found a craft for a fire breathing dragon on Pinterest. So I grabbed some disposable cups and some streamers, craft eyeballs, and tape and the kids had a lot of fun playing with these all night.

fire breathing dragon craft - smartandsavvymom14. Make up a Story Time – Usually for this time I start with reading a story. This time we had a story all about using your imagination. After we read the initial story I make up a story and then we all go around taking turns making up a story. My kids can never have enough turns doing this activity.

15. Play Doh Time – This is pretty self explanatory, but I sat with them and helped them make shapes and things they wouldn’t usually be able to do without me, so they really enjoyed it.

Between those activities and baths 4 days a week and sickness and laundry and meals, we really never had a free moment.

Several times the children mentioned to me that they were surprised how little they missed having Daddy around. I on the other hand still had to face the all to quiet evening while he was away. Luckily, I have this blog, tv, and reading to keep me company.

How do you keep your kids busy and distracted?

 

Books of The Old and New Testament Free Printable Songs

One of the great things about teaching my own children is how many new things I get to learn. I find that every time I go to prepare a Bible lesson for my children I most always pick up a new fact that I didn’t know before. I often add in facts that weren’t included in the lesson as well. Some days I really love teaching them.

I sometimes feel disadvantaged because I didn’t go to Sunday School or church or christian school as a child. So some of the basic things like the names of 12 apostles or the books of the Bible were not things that I memorized as a child. I can’t help but be reflective often as I prepare lessons and songs for my kids.

As an adult I sometimes find myself, smiling, I’m so lucky that my children will learn the Bible from a young age. I know idea what they will remember when they are 30, but I am fortunate they will have many hours learning bible during their school time.

For this weeks printable song, I am including the “Books of the New Testament,” and the “Books of the Old Testament”.

books of the bibile free printable song card previewAs a young adult I had to learn the books of the New Testament for a class I was taking, but I never did learn the books of the Old Testament. I always thought that as I continued to read my Bible each year that I would just some how learn them over time.

That did not happen. (haha) I am hoping that by teaching them to my children I will learn them eventually. I am fairly certain that my children already know them better than I do.

I wonder how long til they figure out that Brining in the Sheaves sound so awfully similiar tro their Books of the Bible Song.

Click here to Download >>Books of the Bible Free Printable Song Cards<<

Please enjoy!

How We Decided to Homeschool

Seems this question is always coming up. I don’t mind answering, I know that home school isn’t for everyone, but for now it is working for our family.

I think that the decision to home school is unique for each family. It is hard to understand sometimes why someone would choose something that seems so foreign to you. This post won’t really explain what home school is for those who don’t understand (we will save that for another post if you are curious). For now I can just tell you how my husband and I chose home school for our children.

how we decided on home school - smartandsavvymom

There is so much to consider when you are thinking about what you are going to do as far as educating your children. For my family we always figured our kids would go to school at the private school provided by our church.

However, as it so happened when we had children we lived about 45 minutes away from the private school we liked the best, and of course we were about 6 years from needing a school for our little one and who knew what could happen in those 6 years.

Well, now that the six years have passed many things have happened in that time; most notably a cross country move and the birth of 3 more children.

When I considered putting my oldest in preschool I had 2 other small children and was expecting my 4th. The idea of having to get everyone ready and dressed and in the car to just drop off one child for what would probably be a half of preschool didn’t seem practical.

At the time (and even now) we only had one car. My husband had to be at work at 6:30 a.m. His start time meant that I would have to drop him off at work (with all the kids in tow) and then either come back home with all the kids just to leave again a short while later to make it to school on time or drive straight to the school from dropping off my husband. Either way, having to start the day around 5 a.m. just so my one 3 year old could go to “traditional” preschool didn’t seem necessary.

I considered buying a 2nd car. Anything would do really, I could use the primary car for getting my little one to and fro, and my husband could have whatever other car we could afford just for work. At the time, however, we were working diligently to get out of debt and taking on a car payment didn’t just wasn’t the right financial decision for our family. The private school we like was out of the question based on sheer distance at this point.

There was another answer, (since I didn’t have anyone that could drive her for me) I could home school her.

After, all, I thought, it is only preschool. I could likely handle teaching basic behavioral expectations, plus colors and shapes and the very basic things that preschoolers are expected to take in.

So I started doing research.

First I asked questions of my homeschooling friends.

Next, I acquired all the home school curriculum brochures I could get my hands on

Last I searched for what my child would be expected to know on her last day of preschool.

After everything, I decided to just keep my oldest 3 year old home from preschool and did some very basic hands on educational activities to teach some simple preschool concepts. Really though, of what I was expected to teach her she knew most things already. She just picked up most of it through life experience and television. Of course some of it I had taught her like recognizing the letters in her name, but I didn’t think of that as home schooling at the time.

My other children did not start home school with the same knowledge that my oldest had. Even now, my 3 year old does not know all of her colors and so we will work on those thing that I previously didn’t have to teach.

At the end of the year when faced with the same access to school as I had the year before and having had such a successful home school year I made the outrageous leap to go ahead and homeschool another year, adding my 3 year old son to the mix. (and a newborn to the overall household chaos)

For K4 I bought a curriculum (A Beka) and we did school (all 5 of us, including my 2 year old daughter, who I let come and go as she pleased) for a couple of hours each day, and it turned out to be fine. I was overwhelmed, but I just went through the lessons as they came, stopping to repeat lessons as necessary.

When I would look ahead to plan out lessons, I would feel such pressure. I didn’t know how I was ever going to be able to teach my little 4 and a half year old how to read, or if I even should. Was I asking too much too soon? Some days were (are) horrible. Some days kids don’t want to listen, some days they cannot understand why I will not permit them to play in the back yard when the sun is shining. Some days it seems that the only time my babies need diapers are just after I started teaching. Other days we have so many wonderful, cute, and eye opening moments that I can’t believe I ever thought about having anyone else teach my children.

At the very end of the year when I was spending most of my time making sure my now 5 year old had mastered all the concepts laid forth by her curriculum a funny thing happened. She knew all of it! I was literally astonished. I had done it, we had done it. The curriculum was of immeasurable benefit as I had no idea what I was doing when we started. I know many home school parents that just do K4 from the work books they find at Wal-mart and the dollar store, but I didn’t know how to do that. The A Beka curriculum spelled everything out for me (thank goodness).

For the foreseeable future we will home school. I am not sure, of course, what the future will hold. I admit that I decided to home school based mostly on my lack of transportation options and the knowledge that so many of my friends were doing it so I could probably do it as well. I had tutored in the past, and have a college degree, and I was sure that the teacher student ratio was going to benefit my kids if we home educated.

Of course, I appreciate that I am able to teach my children from the Bible which I knew that they would not be able to do in public school, but I was going to teach them Bible at home no matter where they went to school so it was not the most important factor for me.

I know a lot of home school parents who home educate because they are “against” public school. I don’t happen to feel that way. I know that public school is not perfect, but I am not sure I know of an educational option that is perfect, we are just doing what works for us at this moment, and this chapter in our lives. We made this decision after much research and plenty of prayer, as we do with all major decisions. I suggest if you are considering homeschool your child I think you should of course pray about it, but here are some things to ask yourself.

  1. Will my child be able to learn in the environment I will provide?
  2. Will I be able to commit an adequate amount of time? (Lesson planning and teaching)
  3. Can I afford the investment in a curriculum?
  4. How will this affect the other members of my household?
  5. Can I ensure my child regularly socializes with people outside of our home?

We take our children to church 3 services a week, and now that they are a bit older we are going to sign them up for a class, probably gymnastics, since they are always doing cartwheels in the living room. Later, will come more social activities, homeschool co-ops, or scouts, or activities of their choosing, we shall see.

I am not sure the correct amount of social interaction at this young age, but I also don’t believe that public school is always the best way to teach our children socialization. Not all children who go to public school are well adjusted and outgoing, or even polite, so socialization is not something I’m concerned with at this point, but I know that it is something that a lot of parents worry about when they consider home education as a choice. It is my belief that it is important to find activities for your kids outside of the home that involve them being around other people. There is plenty of information all over the internet on how to keep your child socialized while home schooling. My final thought on this topic, as a home school teacher you must teach many subjects, just consider socialization to be one of the ongoing subjects.

There is a lot to consider, and I am still very new at this.

I suppose I hope that answered a question for any one reading this who was wondering. Just being honest, don’t need anyone to agree with me.

Behold What Manner of Love Free Printable Song

I love singing with my kids during our home school time. When I first started teaching with them I made sure to make song cards that we use every day. It helps my little ones to have a visual to go with each song until they are able to read them. I made sure each song had one main image so that in the future I could just print the titles with the main image and we could select songs this way.

I am re working my music curriculum, we are still going to focus on songs, but I want to add learning about instruments and reduce the number of songs we learn each year to around 30.

As I’m going through these cards I wanted to share some with you. I started doing this a while back and am happy to start up again.

Going to try to add these once a week until I get through the 30 we will be using this year.

behold what manner of love free printableWe were working on this one during all the Valentine’s Day festivities. We sing it much like this version on Youtube.

You can download yours here >> Behold What Manner of Love Printable Song <<

I hope you enjoy these, if you have any request please leave them in the comments below or email me – Ashley@smartandsavvymom.com

How I Organized My Home School Shelf

I like to keep my home school space hyper organized. It doesn’t always happen, but this is one of those spaces in my house I try to always keep up with, because we spend the most time in here. Also, I have a hard time keeping my thoughts straight if there are things all over the floor. I find it absolutely necessary to know where everything is at all times. I try to take out what I need before we start the lesson time for that day, but, honestly, it just does not always happen. If it takes me more than a minute to take something out or find it, my very young children become very quickly distracted. Since moving it has been reasonably clean, but I just finished getting our main supplies shelf organized and wanted to share.

How I organized my homeschool shelf titleI decided on turquoise and grey and yellow for our school room. It is not quite where I would like it yet, but it is definitely the best we’ve had it. This is only my second year home schooling and it is still very new for me, but we are finding what works for us. I am trying not to get overwhelmed in the wealth of items you can use to aid in home school education, but with 4 little ones, I am sure I will acquire more than I have at this moment.

home school shelf organized; orginzation homeschoolIt’s been a few weeks, and I have been impressed that it has stayed pretty well in tact. Probably the biggest “problem” is with the crayon storage, but I have something in mind for the things crayons we use daily, but until I have time to get crafty this will have to do. I am however, going to add some labels to the pencil boxes. We ended up with 5 boxes, which included, pencils, crayons, washable crayons, markers, and color wonder markers.

How I organized my homeschool shelf what's in the boxes smartandsavvyThe shelf itself was about $30 from Walmart. Since we’re renting I didn’t want to spend too much on decorating someplace we won’t be living too long. This was great for our purposes.

I guess I need to order some chalk markers so I can write on the canisters on top of the shelf, but I am planning on making 3 more canisters so maybe then.

Most of the magazine files are filled with coloring supplies, my 6 year old daughter loves to color, and desires to keep every piece of paper she has ever drawn on. I believe 2 of the magazine files on the bottom shelf have completed artwork in them, when those are full we start throwing stuff out. I have been taking photos so that we can have digital copies of her artwork, seems to bother her less that way.

You can pretty much see what we have on all the boxes. My kids are little so I still pass out there homework on a day to day basis. In the future they will be in charge of some of their own school supplies but for now, this is working for us.

I made over half of the colorful boxes on this shelf with contact paper from Amazon.

How I organized my homeschool where it came from smartandsavvyI did buy a banker box and a magazine file from Target about a year ago. I haven’t seen any colorful ones just like these at Target in a while, but I think they still sell them in camel and black. The pencil boxes we had laying around, they work for now, but they are not my first choice.

That chevron panel you see next to the shelf are our curtains, and they are from Sears.

organized home school room shelfPretty pleased with how it turned out. Wanted to add the above picture to show you the bottom shelf, that is another diaper box, that is just filled with coloring books and notebooks the kids use for coloring.

Do you have any tricks for keeping your open shelves looking beautiful while also being useful? I love the pictures of all those beautifully staged shelves, but I need to use my shelves! I have a lot of stuff!

 

DIY Button Tree Wall Art

I am working on my school room right now. I spend so much time in their with the kids, and I just want it to be stimulating and beautiful. We are renting right now, so no major construction, we are not even going to paint, we want to try and make changes that can be transported, since moving is definitely in our future.

Lots of little projects are bringing everything together quite well. This week I worked on a button tree for the wall with my kids. I first saw the idea here on Amanda’s blog. I was cruising through Pinterest (follow me here). I had no intentions of ever making it, and then it turned out it would be perfect for my school room, and the kids had a lot of fun watching it come together, and they were even able to help some.

Didn’t turn out anything like the one I saw on Amanda’s blog, but I’m no artist.I was initially trying to make it look just like the one I found on pinterest, but I realized rather quickly that mine was going to turn out a bit differently and that is just fine with me. One of the great things about these types of do it yourself projects is that they each look so unique. I like having something on my wall that you won’t see anywhere else, and the kids like it too!Button tree wall art, smartandsavvymom.com, do it yourself craftThe nearest craft store to me is now a good 40 minute drive. They do have a Jo-ann Fabrics right by our church but sometimes it is not ideal to go in there with all the kids. One of the things I liked about this craft, besides that it was very inexpensive, is that I was able to get all the materials at Walmart, didn’t have to make the trek out to the craft store with the kids. I’m sure they will be there again soon.

So I started with a blank 24×36 canvas. I spray painted the top a pastel blue, (I wanted it to look like sky and grass) and the bottom I painted green. I liked the idea of it having a soft line where the colors touched, so that turned out pretty perfectly. Having the soft blend of the lines made it easier for a non artist like me.

Button tree wall art painted canvasOne of the kids got to it when it was drying and it got a spot on it at the bottom but it isn’t very noticeable. If you look very closely you can see a couple flecks of white in the lower right hand corner where someone accidentally splashed some water on it, but you really do have to look quite closely. Oh, and the splotchiness of my uneven spray painting gives it character, right? Really, I think it is just great for a sky.

Didn’t need too many supplies, spray paint for the initial cavas covering of blue and gree, a few paint brushes and 3 varied colors of brown paint, buttons, plus a pencil (with a good eraser) and you are ready to get started.

Button tree wall art supplies, smartandsavvymom.comI picked out the paint by eye, based on how dark I felt I wanted the tree to be, and then I picked out 2 small darker shades for adding some texture to the tree. I Apple and Barrel brand paint, the large bottle which I mainly used is the color Nutmeg brown, although the paint is relatively inexpensive, I could have definitely gotten by with the smaller bottle. The two smaller bottles are Brown Oxide and Burn Umber. The paint dried really quickly which was great with all the little hands I have around here. However, it made corrections hard to fix.

Next up I drew a tree in pencil which I erased many, many times along the way. I tried to draw the tree as close to the Original image from Amanda’s blog as I could but, it was harder than it looked. I think one o the main differences (of many) is that she drew her branches thinner and didn’t paint them as close to the edge of the canvas, which cave her more space for more buttons.

I tried to take a picture of the pencil sketch I later painted over but it was faint and hard to capture, but you can make it out okay.

diy button tree wall art penciled, pencil sketch stepeThis was probably the hardest part. I made it with five main branches the outer 2 I curved down to the bottom of the canvas, the next 2 went to the upper corners and the final middle branch covered the upper center portion of the canvas. I made sure that the whole canvas was covered and as much as I could I made sure the branches looked normal, no weird joints or bends or jutting off pieces from out of nowhere. I did send a picture of the tree with no buttons it to my sister and she asked e if it was supposed to be a haunted tree, she’s a funny one isn’t she?  Once I had a tree I liked, I brushed off the eraser marks and started painting.

Button tree wall art partially painted treeI had to do 2 coats of paint and use several different brushes to cover all the different widths of the tree and the branches. I even let my littles help me paint the trunk. They were happy to help, but after a while I had to set them up with activities in a different room. We suffered a few paint smudges, but I think when I look at those smudges on the wall , I will just remember the fun I had with the kids. Character, right?

After I let the branches dry, I added the buttons without glue to see how they would look laid out in case I wanted to move them around (and I did) I put the big ones on first and then worked around to having the small buttons on the outer edges of the canvas. I wish I had more very small buttons, but I didn’t want invest any more money, but if you are buying buttons just for this craft, more small buttons is better. You really only need a dozen or so of the very large ones.

I chose bright cheerful colors for the school room. We are using turquoise, and grey, and yellow, so I tried to stick to that, I also used some pink and purple and green. I had some buttons left over from a previous craft (mostly pink) and a bag I bought for about $6 at Walmart that was filled with assorted colors like yellows and blues. Those 2 sets of buttons were enough to do the craft.

I used a tiny tube of fast drying craft glue (also left over from that previous craft) and went around gluing down the buttons where they were laying.

Button tree wall art image 3No real rhyme or reason to how I laid them out, just tried to make sure that it looked pleasing to the eye. I also tried to make sure that there weren’t too many on of one color bunched up together. Didn’t want to have a tree branch with all green buttons, but that is just me. I have seen some pictures of a lot of great button trees made on solid color canvas with only one color of button that are gorgeous.

Finished product is definitely good enough to hand on the wall and probably cost me just around $20.

Button tree wall art image 2

I added a few dark lines on the trunk and in the corners where the branches come out of the trunk. I put buttons over most of the smudges or problem areas. My 6 year old helped me glue on some of the buttons, and it turned out great. I am so excited to have something on our previously barred walls, and I am really happy that it is something that we made ourselves and that everyone was able to help at least a little.

diy button tree wall art, finished product, smartandsavvymom.comI am so lucky to have a school room where I can leave the kids in a quite place doing there homework while I deal with  my 2 younger kids that are too small for school yet. My 3 year old comes in for story time and a few songs but I don’t make her stay. I hope that the next place we live has a space where we can do this again.

It is so easy to let the kids stuff take over the whole house, and some days it does, but for the school room I need it to be neat and organized or I can’t think straight. I keep it cleaner than most places in my house, but I am not so strict about it that I lose my temper on the kids over it, luckily for me, it has a lock on the door (it is meant to be a bedroom) so sometimes when the kids get out of hand, just lock the door to keep everything in order. Don’t worry they have plenty of other places around here to play.

Do you have a space in your home that is dedicated to home school or homework? How do you have it decorated?

Tr Phonics Blend Free Printable Worksheet Pack

We are using A beka this year for K5 we used it last year for K4 and so far we really like it. We are nearing our 100th day of school and went ahead and started doing the special sounds and phonic blends. We follow along pretty closely with the lesson plan, but we are just doing the flash cards as she learns them. My 6 year old is loving it and I wanted to print her a few worksheets to go along with the lessons she has been enjoying so much. I found a couple things on Teachers Pay Teachers worth checking out, but I love to make worksheets so I went ahead and made a set to go with the tr consonant blend. Most of the free printables I saw (and I admit I didn’t look long, because I guess I wanted to make a worksheet!) were a little advanced for my Kindergarten student.

tr consonant blend free printable worksheet pack kindergarten - smartandsavvymomI’m not sure if this format will work for all the special sounds and consonant blends, but I am looking forward to making a couple more of these sets. I included 4 worksheets in this pack so you can split them up over the course of a school week.

First a coloring sheet emphasizing the basic blend. We have a train on the flash card that came with our curriculum so I went ahead with that image. You definitely don’t need to have the same curriculum as we do to use thee worksheets though. At the bottom of this worksheet is a place to trace and write the word train.

tr consonant blend free printable worksheet kindergarten - smartandsavvymom

Image: download PDF below

Next up a follow the path worksheet. My kids both love these. I have actually pruchased 2 workbooks of just mazes because they love them so much. Nothing like helping the tractor find it’s way to the barn, right?

Image. Download the PDF below via the link

Image. Download the PDF below via the link

Next worksheet has your student match the word to the picture. I used simple words that my 6 year old can read for herself. Of course there are a ton of words with this beginning sound, but I wanted to use words that could be easily pictured and maybe even read without help from teacher.

Image above: Download below via PDF link

Image above: Download below via PDF link

Last I lined up a bunch of different pictures so that my 6 year old could circle only the ones where the “tr” sound is heard as the beginning sound. I feel pretty certain that my daughter is going to like this one most, and I am wishing that I had time to make more like it, but alas. I could get lost for sure thinking  of all things my daughter likes and I don’t find time to do more of with her, but let’s just keep it positive. Added a little hint to remind my student that tr says the “tr sound like in trunk.”

Image. Download the PDF via the link below

Image. Download the PDF via the link below

Hope you all enjoy these. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

>>tr Free Printable Worksheet Pack Click Here to View PDF<<

I got all my images from Pixabay.