Simply Summers

Simplified Chaos


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Painting with and on Styrofoam

We got a package the other day that had some styrofoam in it and Cheyenne has been playing with it periodically.  Some went on the ends of the product we ordered, so it had holes in it, so Cheyenne put them on her feet and was wearing styrofoam shoes. I really wish I had gotten a picture of that.  Oh well….

The other day, I thought I’d cut one of them into pieces and give Cheyenne something different to paint with.  She thought it was cool, especially after she had stamped it a couple of times and there wasn’t as much paint on it and she could see the pattern it made. She also really liked putting each end in a different color and stamp 2 colors at once.

She had been painting some pages from her coloring book so she still had her watercolors out and wanted to use those.  I didn’t think it would work well, but I wanted her to figure it out for herself.  She didn’t.  It did paint on there, but didn’t dry and just beaded up a little.  She said “See it paints just fine!”

I finally convinced her to try the regular paints and see if it worked any better.  They did look better, but once dry, a lot of it wipes off.  But it was more about the process than the end result and she had a great time, so it was a good thing!!

It was a little messy trying to hold something you are painting, but Cheyenne doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty.  She usually ends up painting her hands anyway during her painting escapades, so no harm done here!

All in all, it was a good time and an interesting experience.

Let me know if you give it a try and how it worked for you!!


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B Week (or two)

We had to stretch “B Week” into two weeks due to Cheyenne coming down with a nasty cold.  My poor little angel was so snotty and congested and even woke up one day with no voice.  It took a couple of days to come back completely, but she seems to be better now with just a little congestion, but she is definitely back to her old self.  🙂  One thing about this girl is even when she’s sick, she doesn’t act sick.  She still tries to run, jump, play and have fun.  The only time she has ever really acted sick was when she got strep and was running 103-104* fever.

But due to her yucky cold, we took it easy for a few days, and when Sunday came around and she begged me to “go do preschool” I knew she was feeling better and ready to get back into it.

Here’s a recap of some of the things we did over these 2 weeks for “B Week”.

After saying the Pledge of Allegiance and doing our day of the week and weather charts, she started with her Butterfly coloring page.  She’s getting so good at coloring.  She holds the crayon the proper way and does really good at staying in the lines most of the time.

All of our pages here are from Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Letter of the Week curriculum unless otherwise noted.

She did several pre-writing pages and did very well. She is getting so much better at following the lines and she concentrates so hard.

B puzzle…she loves these puzzles! I laminate them and then cut them up into either 6 or 9 pieces and she loves putting them back together.  One thing we love about preschool at home is being able to go to school in our jammies!!

Pre-Writing numbers page.  There are several pre-writing pages in each week’s lessons and she is getting so good at following the lines and tracing the lines, letters and numbers. She did really well on these!

One of her favorites….the Bb Dot Page.  She loves it when I pull these out, because she knows the dot paints are coming out next!!  She loves doing the dot paints.

Upper/lower case sorting….she’s got upper and lower case down pat!!

While it had nothing to do with our B is for Butterfly week, this craft started out to be a tree that was going to be next to our Cut and Paste butterfly craft, but it kinda took a fall turn and Cheyenne put leaves and pumpkins all over and we didn’t have room for the butterfly, so we did it after this.  You can read all about her Fall Scene Craft here.

Here’s the butterfly craft we originally planned to do.  I cut some green construction paper to resemble grass and Cheyenne glued it onto the blue background.  Then I drew a slightly better tree, (since I didn’t put any branches on it) and decided to use Cheyenne’s handprint as the leaves.  It turned out pretty cute. Then Cheyenne glued her butterfly on the paper and was so excited!!

She really loves the Poke pages.  We didn’t get a chance to do the poke page during “A week” but we did this week and Cheyenne loved it! She sat down on the floor with her paper and toothpick and poked the toothpick through the paper on the lines of the upper and lower case B.

Color and upper/lower case matching.  She loves these little puzzles in each week’s lessons.  I just have to say how much I love this little face.  She is finally starting to give me a regular smile when I take her picture instead of the scrunched up face smile.  While the scrunched up face smile is adorable, I’m glad she’s giving me genuine smiles too!

This week, she really enjoyed the magnet page.  I made her some magnet gems, and she totally loved this.  She did this for quite a while and then did some free play with the magnets on the cookie sheet by themselves.

There were a few days when she had her cold that she didn’t seem interested in preschool so I didn’t push it and just tried to get her to relax and take it easy, which, let me tell you is not easy to get a 3 year old to do.  So to sort of stay with the B theme, she played with her blue playdough and made several creations.

We forgot to do her Letter Collage for Letter A so we will have to go back and do that one during review week, but we finished up B week today by doing her B collages.  She put Band-Aids on her upper case B and buttons on her lower case b. She did so well with very little help and had such a good time, she kept saying “More B pages!!” I think she’s really going to like doing her collages every week. We are going to put them all in a notebook and she’ll have an alphabet book as a keepsake.  These collage letters are also from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  The upper case can be found here, and the lower case can be found here.

We ended our “B Week” by having a “B” lunch.  I fixed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches shaped like the letter B, cheese shaped like the letter B and also some bananas.

She loves her “Letter Lunches” at the end of each lesson!!

Despite Cheyenne being sick for a few days, we had a great couple of weeks working on the letter B!

Cheyenne will be starting a Mother’s Day Out program next week so our preschool routine may have to change up a little on the days she goes to that, but I think it will be great!!  🙂


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Magnet Gems…a big hit!!

I’ve seen these on a few of the preschool sites that I follow and thought it was a great idea, so I made some for Cheyenne!!  Enter Magnet Gems!! They are just simply a bag of the colored gems you can get from the dollar store.  They are the ones that are flat on the bottom and rounded on top.  I had some magnetic strips, so I just cut those into little squares and stuck them on the back.

You can also hot glue them, but I just stuck them on for now and if I have a problem with them coming off, I will dig out my hot glue gun and glue them on.

When I went to the dollar store, they were out of the smaller gems, so I got the larger ones and I couldn’t picture the size of the dots on our magnet pages, but it turns out these are a little big. They still work, they are just pretty crowded, so I will be going back or going to another dollar store to get some of the smaller ones.

Here she is working on her Letter B Magnet page from Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Letter of the Week Curriculum.

These can still be used for lots of other things like free play on the cookie sheet, which she loved!   She loves just being able to do her own thing.  This little girl is very strong willed and loves to do things her way!  🙂   We did make some letters and numbers with the gems on the cookie sheet, but I didn’t get any pictures of that.  She liked just moving them around and trying to make things by herself.

Give them a try!! Cheyenne loves them!! 🙂


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Fall Scene Craft

Cheyenne has been sick the last few days, so we haven’t been doing much preschool on those days.  I’ve been trying to get her to rest and stay pretty still, but that is near impossible for a 3 year old….or at least my 3 year old. Cheyenne is a very active child that loves to run, sing, dance and jump.  So trying to get her to stay settled and take it easy the last few days has been a real challenge.  If she gets too active, she starts coughing and the snot starts flowing freely.

Yesterday, she asked to do a craft.  She has just recently really been interested in crafts and wanting to do different crafts all the time.  She will see me looking at the blogs I follow and she wants to do the crafts.

So yesterday she wanted to do a craft so I got her some blue construction paper and cut some green construction paper to look like grass.  Then I drew a tree, very poorly I might add, and gave her some fall foam stickers of different colored leaves, acorns, apples and pumpkins.  She started putting the leaves on all of the poorly drawn branches until she had an awesome tree and she even put some pumpkins on the ground around the tree.  She put some acorns on the tree along with the leaves and even put an apple on the ground beside the tree too.

Then I got a paper towel tube and cut the ends to have points on them to resemble the sun.  Mind you, I am not creative and I am not an artist, so it is really hard for me to prepare for her crafts sometimes.  Anyway, my poor “sun” didn’t turn out quite right, but Cheyenne loved dipping it in the paint and stamping the sun on her paper.  Then she used her finger to fill in the sun.

Here is her finished craft. I think she did such a great job and she had so much fun.  It was also good for working fine motor skills by removing the backing from the foam stickers and she did a great job doing them all by herself.

We haven’t really been doing very much arts and crafts due to the fact that I am in the process of trying to organize all of our craft supplies.  I won a huge box of craft supplies and kits a while back so I have that along with a huge tote full of stickers, stamps, chenille sticks, glue sticks, popsicle sticks, beads, and so many other things that I probably don’t even realize I have.  I look at all of it sometimes and have to just walk away, because I have no idea where to start.  If anyone has any great ideas, tips or suggestions for storing craft supplies, please leave a comment and share them.


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Cheyenne’s First Ranger Game!!

Yesterday morning, I won 4 tickets to last night’s Texas Rangers game!!  I LOVE the Texas Rangers and have to admit, baseball is my all-time favorite sport.  If I have to choose between baseball and football, baseball wins out every time!!  I took my friend Vanessa, my dad and Cheyenne got to go to her first Rangers game!!  We had such a great time and she was so well behaved.  She held Grandpa’s hand when we were walking around and she sat in her seat and watched the game pretty much the whole time!

It was such a fun experience and it was so neat to see Cheyenne have such a great time!

Yeah, we had to get a foam finger!!

There’s our Rangers…

One of Cheyenne’s favorite players…David Murphy!!

We hit the 3 million fan mark last night!!

Another of Cheyenne’s favorite players…Nelly Cruz!!

Of course we had to get some cotton candy…..

She even shared her cotton candy with Grandpa!

Cheyenne and Grandpa at the Ranger game!!

She had such a great time!!  I just love this little Ranger dress that Grandpa got her for her birthday!  She’s so adorable in it!!

She didn’t want to leave!

She saw this big pig and wanted me to take her picture.  She thought it was so neat and wanted to get on it, but I had to tell her that you can’t get on it.  😦

She even got a certificate for attending her first Ranger game!!

We had such a great time and Cheyenne got to stay up extremely late for this special occasion and surprisingly, she stayed awake on the 45 minute drive home.

I sure hope we get another opportunity to go to another Ranger game, if not before the end of this season, we will definitely go again next season!! Cheyenne had a blast and thought it was so neat to see her favorite Rangers in person down on the field.  Next time, we’ll have to go on autograph night or get there during batting practice so we can get some autographs and see the players up close!!


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Our First Week (and a half) of Preschool – Letter A

Our first week of preschool sort of got extended into this week as well. Since Cheyenne is so used to having free time most of the time when it’s not meal time, nap time, or bedtime, it has been difficult getting in the groove of things and getting her to realize that she needs to listen and follow directions even though she is so excited and asks to “go do preschool” every morning. So we have stretched our A week into this week and we are about done with the Letter A, although we may do a couple more arts and craft activities if we can manage it.

I do have to say that I am extremely proud of her because in just one week, she has learned the Pledge of Allegiance.  I would have her repeat a few words at a time, then I realized she was putting phrases together without my assistance and then the other day, I heard her (while she was supposed to be taking a nap) laying in her bed reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  I was amazed!!

Here’s a peek at some of what we did this week for Letter A…..

She traced the Letter A.

She cut out some apples for her apple tree craft.  She’s concentrating so hard!  She loves cutting.

She was really excited about her apple puzzle!  She did this in no time!

She glued her apples to her tree and created a beautiful apple tree!

She did some shape matching and did a great job! This girl knows her shapes. We talked about each shape as she matched them up and named a few things that were each shape.

She was so proud of her upper/lowercase matching!

Pre-writing pages went well.  She obviously needs more work, but she did pretty well considering she’s only done it a couple of times.

Size sorting was a breeze!!

I think her favorite part, other than the cutting and gluing, was the dot paints! She loves to do dot paints!

Pattern matching is no problemo!!

For lunch yesterday, I made her an “A” lunch.  She got 2 letter A peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (the A cookie cutter we have is really small), some letter A cheese and since that was all of the A items I had on hand for this impromptu A lunch, she had some pita chips and vanilla yogurt with red sugar sprinkles.  That was really special, because I have never embellished her yogurt before so she thought that was really cool!

Here she is working on a mosaic puzzle that I picked up at Target Dollar Bins a while back for $1.00.  Every time you put it together, it creates a different picture.  She had fun matching up the same colored triangles to make solid squares as well as mixing up the colors to make cool designs. We talked about how each shape is a triangle, and when two triangles are put together, they make a square.  This will definitely be a fun part of preschool that she will want to do over and over again!

Even though our first week was more like a week and a half, we had fun and I think we are starting to get into more of a routine and as we get more comfortable, I will begin adding more things to do, games to play and crafts.

All of the above activities, except for the mosaic puzzle are from Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Letter of the Week Curriculum.

On a personal note:   I am struggling right now as far as sharing our preschool adventure and daily life.  I’m thinking about posting about our week either on the weekend or the following Monday after our week is over. I’ve also entertained the thought of posting about each day’s activities.  If I post weekly about the preschool aspect, then I can post other days about our playdates, extra arts and crafts and any recipes or any other fun or interesting topics I might want to share.

I would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions, so leave me a comment and let me know what you think!


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First Day of Preschool!!

We started preschool this morning and Cheyenne was so excited!

I went back to her room and got everything set up by writing 1st Day of Preschool and the date on the whiteboard.  I also put a small board book on her table titled Grover’s First Day of School.

We are taking it sort of slow this week, to establish a routine slowly.  Cheyenne, like most kids, responds better to a schedule and routine, but she is used to a very basic schedule where other than when she is eating or sleeping, she pretty much has free play.  I know she will adjust in time to a new routine but she doesn’t do well with sudden change.  If she is eased into it, she responds a lot better.

We are using the Letter of the Week curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  I really like this curriculum and love that it comes with the lesson plans for each letter which you can use, or you can do it in your own way.  It is a 26 week program full of activities that focus on letter recognition, sounds, number recognition, counting, basic math skills, pre-writing practice, and all the necessary fine-motor skills to prepare for kindergarten.

The first thing we did was say our Pledge of Allegiance. Cheyenne loves saying it and is getting very good at it and can say almost the entire second half by herself.  Then she sang the Alphabet song alone as she insisted she doesn’t need any help and can do it by herself.  You gotta love the 3 year old independence.  🙂

Then she did her Day of the Week chart and Weather chart from the Letter of the Week curriculum.

Then Cheyenne did a little coloring on her A page and I was amazed that she corrected her grip on her own. She is learning to hold her crayon/pen/pencil correctly now and she is really beginning to color well.  She had me color one of the apples and I showed her how to color in the whole apple not leaving any white.  The next one she colored, she kept saying “Oh, I’ve got to get this part, there’s still some white.”  What a cutie!

Then we did our number cards.  I laid them out in a line and called out a number and she would hop to that number.  It was so fun for her and being as she was hopping to each number, got her a little physical activity as well.

Then we took a break for a while to go to a playdate with a couple of our friends at Jumpstreet, our new favorite place.  It is an indoor trampoline park that has a section for ages 7 & under, but now that school is back in, all of the kids were under 5 and it wasn’t crowded at all.  Cheyenne loves this place and for $4.00 all day, can’t be beat for extreme fun for the little ones at an affordable price.

Then it was time to come home for lunch and a nap.

Tomorrow we will do a little more work since we don’t have a playdate, plus we will be trying to make up for Monday being a holiday.

All in all, Cheyenne had a great first day of preschool and I am so excited about this new journey we find ourselves on.


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Notice anything different??

Welcome to SimplySummers, formerly Life With the Summers!  I have moved over to WordPress from Blogger and have revamped my blog and I’m going to be taking it in another direction and adding more to it.  Cheyenne turned 3 in June and is learning and absorbing information like a sponge.   Now that she is getting older, we are doing more fun things, and I want to share them with you.

First I have to give props and a huge thank you to my awesome friend and graphic designer Vanessa for helping me revamp my blog and creating the beautiful design and special touches that I think turned out great!  Check her out at http://vgraydallas.wix.com/vgdesigns.

I am going to start preschool at home with Cheyenne on Tuesday and plan to share our preschool journey with all of you.  I also want to share all of our other adventures with you such as playdates, arts and crafts, the occasional recipe and anything else that I find interesting enough to share. I hope you will follow me along in my new endeavor and enjoy the ride!

Make sure you enter your e-mail in the box to the right to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any of our journey.

Here’s a sneak peek at our preschool corner:

…and Cheyenne standing beside her Days of the Week and Weather charts which is part of the Letter of the Week curriculum that we will be using from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I’ll talk more about that next week.  She loves doing her charts!

…and our school shelves.  I’m sure more stuff will be added over time.

Stay tuned as we begin our journey next week.  We are so excited to share it with you!