Sunday, August 28, 2011

Active Listening

Last year, someone introduced me to the Chinese word for "listen", and I love using it with my boys to talk about what active listening is.  One of the biggest problems in communication with others is often the failure to listen.  This is how you explain the symbol to your child:

This symbol tells us that in order to listen we must use both ears, watch and maintain eye contact, give undivided attention, and finally be empathetic. In other words we must engage in active listening!

What types of communication or listening lessons do you teach your child?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Twitter Tuesday Link-Up

I always learn a ton from the people that I follow on Twitter!  From links to technology assistance Twitter is the go to place for sharing ideas.  Do you have a Twitter account? Are you looking for more followers or great people to follow? Link up!

Monday, August 22, 2011

AboutOne - Getting Organized

It's that time of year again, fall is in the air, school supplies are on sale, and football practice is in full swing - yes we have officially hit the busy season in the Malloy residence.  And even though I am incredibly busy this time of year, life keeps happening.  There are doctor's appointments to go to, pictures to sort through, events to keep track of, and I was on the hunt (yet again) for how to get organized!

I have tried the traditional paper planners and calendars, but I always miss getting something written down, because I forget to keep them with me.  I can't count on my fingers and toes the number of times I didn't have a planner with me when I was making an appointment, when I got an email football practice schedule change, or when I was on the phone and needed to write something down.

That being said, I am a digital girl- I don't go anywhere without my iphone or my pad!  So, I was excited to find that there was a service called AboutOne that served as a digital filing system and more.

Not only does AbouOne serve as a  calendar/ planner where keep track of my appointments and important telephone numbers, but it also lets me keep track of my family information such as health and education records.  I can also keep track of health information (which with a family of 6 boys is easy to lose track of)!  Now I don't have to wonder was it Parker or Powell who need to have antibiotics before dental treatment? Or which boy HAS NOT had stitches yet (that would be only 2 of them).  It has given me a place to keep track of the names of our medicines we take as well which is very helpful in the doctor's office when they ask you and you can only remember that it starts with the letter A.

I love that in the very same place, I can keep track of household and car maintenance information.  No longer do I have to keep files and files worth of paper.  Since I am always trying to think of how to declutter our house, this is really a big deal!

But... I have to say, one thing that really sets this service apart from other planners I've tried out is that you can easily share items with friends and family.  As you enter the information into the program, it keeps track and simply plugs into various features such as a family newsletter and even a baby book!  With 6 boys, it has been tremendously difficult for me to document all of those important days and first times.  While I was great at it when I had the first baby, each additional baby has a sparser and sparser baby book.  With AboutOne, that is about to change.  I can update a certain event - like Luke's first football game, and it automatically can be posted to a family newsletter to email, tweet, or post to facebook for all of our friends and family to see.  I can also print it out and slide it into a scrapbook for each of the boys and viola - their memory books are all updated!

I haven't even BEGUN to play with all of the features AboutOne has, but here is another one I can't wait to try:

Here is a video overview of even more features!

Now, AboutOne is offering you the chance to try out its program for FREE - and also to enter to win a $500 AMEX gift card and an upgrade to a free subscription to to 1 grand prize winner + a $250 donation to the school of their choice.  All other entries will receive an email with a code for 25% off a one year subscription to

Mandatory Entry:

1. Sign up for AboutOne free trial (absolutely no credit card info required) - and try it out for yourself! You will get a full 17 day trial -17 full days of usage with no expiration date (requires no credit card information). Use each of your 17 days whenever you like. The Yearly Plan gives you a full year of access to AboutOne for the low price of $30 per year.2. Complete the form below.

Rules: One winner will be chosen at random from all entries across all blogs to receive the following prize: $500 AMEX gift card and an upgrade to a free subscription to to 1 grand prize winner + a $250 donation to the school of their choice. All other entries will receive an email with a code for 25% off a one year subscription to This giveaway ends September 9th at 11:59 p.m. ET and is open to U.S. residents age 18 or older.


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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Traceable Font

If your little ones are just learning to write their numbers and letters, you may want to download this traceable font.  You can create custom worksheets with their names, letters they are practicing, copywork, and more. 

Penny Challenge - How Observant Are You?

Here is a fun little observation activity to try with your homeschooler!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Multiplication Mania

If you are working on multiplication with your homeschoolers, you may want to check out some of the great resources at Math is Fun.  From tips on learning multiplication facts, to worksheets, to timed fact tests like the one above, you are guaranteed to find something to help.

Here are some more resources for multiplication lesson plans.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Football? Fun Football Learning Activities

Fall means football in our house - at least for our younger three boys!  We just got their football pics and although I know football players are supposed to be tough and not cute - I can't resist - Aren't they adorable!

If your little ones love football too, you may want to check out some of these football themed activities:

Football Game Board (review almost any subject with this fun game).


Count how many balls to practice counting skills.

Seeing Doubles - Practice doubling numbers with this addition worksheet.

Football Addition - Practice addition with this football themed worksheet

Football Place Value - Practice place value with this football themed worksheet

What Number is Missing - Write the missing numbers on this football themed worksheet.

Football Facts - Divide and multiply by 7 with these fun football themed worksheets.


Are you ready for some football?  - Read each set of sentences. Underline the main idea. Cross out the sentence that does not support the main idea

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Milk Mustache Latte Campaign

When I was at BlogHer I filmed a video for the Got Milk? Campaign.  The videos are now up on Facebook here, and I would really appreciate your votes!  You need to do a search for Kelly - and you will find two of us, I am the one that is circled in the picture above. You can vote daily.  I will be adding extra entries in the contests I have going for voting :)

Thank you in advance!!!!

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Free Homeschool ID cards

Tired of explaining to curious commenters that you homeschool when they ask why your children aren't at school? You may want to print out one of these free Homeschool ID cardsThe site asks that you become a member, but it is free to join. You can print out a set for free or order plastic laminated versions from the site for a cost of $6.95.  We have opted to print them out and laminate them ourselves. 

I blacked out the birthdate for privacy issues.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fun Way To Teach Your Kids About Telling Time

I love this idea for visually reinforcing how to tell time.  I think I am going to print out the templates here and search for a standard clock that will fit it for Luke who is just learning to tell time to the hour and half hour.  I may start with just the hour and half hour, and then add the other times as I introduce them to him.

Here are a few more resources for telling time:

Telling Time Matching Game

Telling Time Practice Worksheet

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We Give Books -Free On-Line Books

You can find over 149 books to read on-line absolutely free if you visit We Give Books.   And the best part? After you and your child read the book, you can click a button to donate a brand new book to a child in need.  The more books you read, the more We Give Books gives.  I love it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Naptime

Just had to share this adorable shot of two of my favorite men enjoying a nap - Daddy and Luke!

Easier Grilled Cheese

With the fall months coming soon, chances are you may find yourself making yummy grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch.  It is a big hit at our house, but making grilled cheese sandwiches for 6 kiddos, hubby, and I can take a loooong time. I usually use our portable skillet, but here is an even easier, quicker, and lazier way to make grilled cheese:

Butter each piece of bread and place face down on a cookie sheet.
Put cheese on top.

Add a second slice of bread with butter side up and stick in your preheated 350 oven for 20 minutes.

TA-DA, GRILLED CHEESE ready to eat and cooked on both sides. Yummy!  Pair with some tomato soup, fruit or veggies for a quick and easy healthy lunch!

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Roll The Dice Number Recognition Game

Here is a fun activitity for teaching your child number recognition.  Print out the template, then give your child a dice.  Have them roll the dice and cover up that number on their fish template.  You can watch the video below for a more detailed explanation.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Handwriting Tracing Rings

Here is a fun way for your kiddos to practice writing the letters of the alphabet!  Simply print out the cards below, laminate, punch holes, and add to a binder ring.  Your child can re-use them if they use a dry erase or wet erase (vis a vis) marker to complete them.  I am having Luke practice these each day.

Uppercase Tracing Cards

Lowercase Tracing Cards

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Teaching Your Kids About Money - Credit Cards?

To say that I was a bit shocked when this arrived in the mail for my nine year old (yes you read right, my NINE year old) would be a bit of an understatement.  It is an actual Visa Debit/Credit card.  Although you have to add money to the card to use it, I was very surprised that this would be mailed out to a child.  Even worse, Cody was chomping at the bit to use his credit card.  We had to explain to him that credit cards are NOT free money.  It was an important lesson for him to learn.

I had actually been thinking about getting similar cards for my older boys (the teenage ones, the ones who are 15, 16, and 18) through a service called BillMyParents after learning a little more about them when I attended BlogHer. I got to watch a funny video that explained more about the service which I've included below.

But... all of this got me thinking about how important it is to teach our children about money, especially about credit cards.  Many people do not learn how to use credit wisely, and then when they get their first credit card it is after they have already left home and have no one to teach them about the benefits but also the pitfallls of purchasing things using credit cards.

I am planning on incorporating some lessons on handling money for all of my children (yes even the little ones).  Although I don't think I will be getting them their own credit cards, I think it is important to start teaching even the youngest ones about the value of money.

What things do you do to teach your kiddos about money?  Have you had these conversations?

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Not Back To School Hop - Photo Week

So this week is all about our kiddos!  Anytime I tell people that I have 6 boys, I always get the same reactions:


"All boys?"

Yes, six boys does at times seem overwhelming, but truly I wouldn't have it any other way! They have grown up so fast, and I love this idea of sharing a brief snapshot of them to "freeze" them in this time, in this moment, at this place.

Here are pictures of each of the boys that we took at the Exploratorium as the camera shot both them and a drop of water in motion.  I wish I could freeze them in place at this moment as easily as the camera could.

Parker - 18 years old

Powell - 16 years old

Palmer - 15 years old

Tyler - 10 years old

Cody - 9 years old

Luke - 5 years old

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Tastes from Home with Frito-Lay recipe Contest & Giveaway

Lays has a new line of potato chips that were  inspired by popular American regional cuisine and include:

1. Northeastern U.S. – Lay’s Honey Mustard
2. Midwestern U.S. – Lay’s Creamy Garden Ranch
3. Northwestern U.S. – Lay’s Balsamic Sweet Onion
4. Southwestern U.S. – Lay’s Chipotle Ranch
5. Southeastern U.S. – Lay’s Cajun Herb & Spice

All of the Lay's Regional Flavored potato chips are made with all natural ingredients and cooked in healthier oils, like corn and sunflower oils, which contain 80% or more of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat - the "good fats." They also contain 0 grams of trans fats per serving!

There’s also less sodium in them than you might think – a 1-oz serving of our Lay’s Regional Flavored potato chips contains less salt than a plain bagel!

I can't wait to try the Lay’s Honey Mustard and the  Lay’s Creamy Garden Ranch!

I live in the Northwestern region of the United States which inspired the Lay’s Balsamic Sweet Onion flavor.  I actually think this is super appropriate because one of our regions most loved festivities is the rib cook-off where you can also partake in yummy beer battered onion rings made with sweet onions.  Not content with enjoying these yummy onion rings only once a year, my hubby and I were bound and determined to recreate our own version at home.  Here is our recipe:

Beer-Battered Onion Rings



1-1/2 cups flour

1-1/2 cups beer,  room temperature

2 large Sweet onions

oil for deep frying


1. To prepare the batter for the onion rings, thoroughly whisk together flour and beer. Let batter stand, covered, at room temperature for at least 3 hours.

2. Slice onions 1/4-inch thick. Separate into rings.

3. Pour oil into a large frying pan about 3 inches deep.  Heat.

4. With metal tongs, dip a few onion rings into batter, then carefully put them into the hot oil.

5. Fry, turning the rings a couple of times until golden brown. Remove from oil.

Frito-Lay is offering one lucky reader of Homeschool Parent a chance to win a multi-pack of Lay’s Regional Flavors!  You  can try them all!

Mandatory Entry:

1. Tell me which flavor from the  Lay’s Regional Flavored potato chips you would most like to try.

Leave a separate comment for each entry:

2. Like Frito-Lay on Facebook and leave me a comment below telling me you are a fan.

3. Follow Frito Lay on Twitter and leave a comment below with your twitter handle.

4. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment below with your twitter handle.

5. Like Homeschool Parent on Facebook and leave me a comment below telling me you are a fan.

6. Become a Homeschool Parent email subscriber.

7. Follow Homeschool Parent on Google Friend Connect.
8. Tweet about the giveaway and comment with your Tweet.

You can copy and paste:

Enter to win a variety pack of Frito-Lay Regional Flavored Potato Chips! from @kellys3ps  #FritoFlavors

Disclosure: Frito-Lay provided  me with  a variety pack of Lay’s Regional Flavors potato chips to giveaway to a readers of my blog, and my blog post is a form of entry for the Tastes from Home with Frito-Lay recipe contest. The opinions posted are entirely my own.  
Contest ends: August 23, 2001 11:59 PM PST.

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Ideas For Teaching About Graphs

Graphs and charts are a great way to communicate information visually. For this reason, graphs are often used in newspapers, magazines and businesses around the world.  Because of this, it is important for your homeschoolers to learn both how to read graphs and also how to create them as well. 

I found a fun and easy site where your kiddos can create their own graphs called Create A Graph. Your child can enter data to create one of 5 different types of charts (bar graph, line graph, area chart,  pie chart, and an xy chart).  They could also use the same data to make more than one type of chart so that they can compare different ways that the same data can be presented. 

What similarities do they see? What differences? Why might they choose to use one type of chart over another.

Here are some more graphing activities:

M&M candy color graph

What color are your skittles?

Reading Graphs, Pets We Have

Reading Graphs, Our Favorite Colors

Flowers Picked Graph

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