Search Results for: playdough

How-to Make Your Own Playdough Mats {Thoughful Thursday}

I found these awesome FREE printables on Pinterest {duh} and my kids LOVE them!

You print them out, LAMINATE them, and then have fun.

I like them because they help my children learn to be more creative with Playdough rather than rolling it into "snacks" over and over again then tasting it.

For my older one, it gave her something for her brain to work on as well as her hands. My second child is a more physical learner so when we start working on numbers this will encourage her to pick it up quicker. I think I may make my own giant letters to laminate so she can work on learning those quicker as well!

If you don't have a laminator I would highly recommend getting one. I have the cheapest i could find and it works Great for all the things I want to use it for. It's a "Scott" brand and I found it at Wal-Mart. The refill laminating sheets are {relatively} cheap as well.

Do you have any fun things you do with your kids and their Playdough that encourage creativity and/or learning?
Do you have a laminator? If so, any tips or recommendations?

Sorry, my link-up is messed up and I haven't had time to fix it yet but I'd LOVE to have links to your thoughfulness! Add a link in the comment section below. Thanks!!!

More Thoughtful Thursday Post!

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Lots of Littles 2015

I know Valentine’s Day is totally a commercialized holiday BUT since its everywhere, it can be super cute and fun to decorate for, AND because Jesus is all about L.O.V.E. we ‘celebrate’ it.

Simply Celebratine Valentine's Day with Lots of Littles

In years past {shortly after the evil Pinterest reared its evil head} I was so methodical, preplanned, over-the-top, and giddy about this holiday. We had tons of decorations, lil parties, a love note 'station', etc. Now…I think I have too much on my plate or I’ve gotten incredibly lazy. Or maybe both.

This year, the only things I’ve managed to actually do on my wishful list of v-day fun is get the tiny mailboxes out {minus the entire Love Note Station}, let the kids put up some window clings, printed some of the homeschool <3 activities, and send invitations for a Kids’ Valentine’s Day Party {aka Parents Night Out} for Valentine’s Day evening {similar to last years}.

Here are more themed resources:

Math, Graphing, Addition/Subtraction, Patterns

Sorting, other PreK FREE Printables, for Toddlers

Games: Shooters

Beginning Sounds, Sight Words, Dialogue, Word Matching

Science: 13:13 Experiment, Conversation Heart Experiment, "Exploding Heart" Experiment, Every Candy Experiment Known to Man

Art/Craftiness: LOVE hands, Homemade Valentine's for Friends and or for Neighbors

And of course, I’ve pinned about a thousand more Valentine's Day ideas on Pinterest if you want some inspiration to go big! AND if you haven't come up with a win win win Valentine's Day gift for your man {or the entire family}, I highly recommend {aff link} Union28! Yeah know, 'cause my hubs rocks!

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Operation Christmas Child Gift Ideas

History of OCC & FAQ
Keep a look out on the Facebook page for a OCC GIVEAWAY!!!!

Buying items for an Operation Christmas Child box does NOT have to be a budget breaker.

OCC gift ideas on a Budget

This has become an annual tradition in our house. Our preferred place to shop? The Dollar Tree!

For real. We have an average budget of ~$10 per child/box. Our 3 children get to go with us to the store and scavenge over the toy aisle finding the perfect gifts. This is of course after we've double checked any stash we may have had at home. We encourage the kids to work together in order to be able to provide more items in each box while keeping the spending low.

Packs of multiples as well as gender neutral items are a great idea. We always take everything out of the package that is possible to be able to cram as much into those tiny boxes as possible. Below are huge lists of possible items to get your creative juices flowing.

    • pens
    • pencils and sharpeners
    • crayons
    • markers
    • stamps and ink pad sets
    • writing pads or paper
    • solar calculators
    • coloring and picture books
    • colored construction paper
    • small spiral notebook
    • stickers
    • foam shapes {with sticky backs}
    • scissors or hole punch
    • FAVORITE: boxes of crayons, markers, and other school supplies we stocked up on while they were on sale during "back-to-school sales}


  2. TOYS:
    • miniature cars
    • miniature people/dolls/action figures {NO WEAPONS or WAR FIGURES}
    • balls
    • bouncy balls
    • dolls or stuffed animals
    • musical instruments: kazoos, harmonicas, clappers, whistles
    • yo-yos
    • jump ropes
    • small Etch A Sketch®
    • jacks
    • marbles
    • toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries)
    • Slinky,® etc.
    • Playdough{although, some children have been known to eat it not knowing what it was}
    • mini Frisbees
    • brand new kids' meals toys


    • toothbrush and toothpaste
    • mild bar soap (in a plastic bag)
    • comb or brushes {preferably compact or fold-able to save space}
    • washcloth {consider those "growing" clothes to save space}
    • mirrors {reflective but better if not actual glass}
    • chapstick
    • FAVORITE: bar soaps from hotels, small toothbrushes/paste from the dentist


    • t-shirts
    • socks
    • underwear {very hard to find in a lot of 3rd world countries}
    • loves
    • hats
    • sunglasses
    • hair clips
    • toy jewelry
    • watches


  5. OTHER:

    • thick plastic cups
    • bowls
    • plastic shoebox {rather than cardboard} so they can repurpose it
    • flashlights (with extra batteries)
    • hard candy

    Here's a post that includes lots of handmade items!


    You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may write back. Even if they don't, they would love to see the face and hear that someone is praying for them.


Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids, liquid soaps/shampoos, or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

Reminder: you can always fit more into a box if you remove things from their packages. That's totally legit & the kids will have no idea they used to be in one more layer of wrapping 😉

Operation Christmas Child

Tomorrow, we'll learn how to pack a box AND there's also a fun video from Special Guest VEGGIES to get your kids excited up about helping!!!!

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Playroom Organization {Settled In September}

Playroom Organization

I have posted in the past about our system of centers. I've even created center labels as well as names for the kids to "check in and out of" centers to try and maintain organization and get them to clean their own toys up. This worked for a while and Definitely works with large numbers of children {ie daycares/preschools} but it got a little legalistic in our house and I wanted to simplify when we moved.

This time I made new tags {and still have some to be completed} to label the baskets. I LOVE the baskets, bens, tubs, whatever you call these canvas things. They keep everything organized while making it simple to put things away- chunk it back into the basket!

Panoramic Playroom Shelving Numbered Centers

  1. Library Basket
  2. Home Library {sorted}
  3. Playdough Center
  4. Electronic Center
  5. Puzzle Center
  6. Computer Center
  7. Baby Toys
  8. Ball Center
  9. Music Center
  10. Dress-Up Characters
  11. Potato Heads
  12. Wooden Blocks
  13. Vehicles
  14. Mega Blocks
  15. Homeschool Supplies
  16. Little People Center {village}
  17. HIPPY School Work
  18. Dress-Up Accessories Playroom Closet Organization

Inside our closet we have the Doll Shelf & the Dress-Up Costumes/Outfits as well as extra books {for higher level reading}, large toys {pop-up tent & tube}, and scrapbook supplies on the top shelf.

In case you were wondering:

  • red book basket {hanging on the wall}- $2 flea market find/spray painted planter
  • black bookshelves- Wal-Mart {similar to THIS tall one and THIS short one}
  • plastic book bins {on top of shelves}- oriental trading {wish I had a gazillion more}
  • labels- homemade printable {available at the end of the month}
  • square canvas bins {ON SALE}- target, home depot, anywhere I could find them cheap
  • rectangle canvas bin {one in doll shelf as well as other places throughout the house}- Wal-Mart {years ago}
  • doll house/shelf- handmade by my grandparents YEARS ago & revamped a few years ago
  • quilt rack {dress-up storage}- Pier1 as a wedding gift years ago
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1st Day of Rothacher Academy {2013}

I'm tired. But not as tired as I expected to be today. I'll equate that to not being on social media until now and feeling lots better in the sinus department. I have always been curious about what different people's homeschool day looks like so today I wanna share a timeline of what our day basically looked like.  Rothacher Academy 1st Day

1st School Day of Rothacher Academy {2013/14}:

6:45 I got up {with an alarm 🙁 1st time in years other than Sundays} and shower

7:00 Girls show up in my bathroom bright-eyed. They had already made their beds, put PJs at the end of the bed for a second night of wearing, and dressed head to toe in their "first day outfits" we took separate special mom-daughter shopping dates to pick out.

7:10 I put biscuits in the over and finished getting dressed and drying hair while the girl went to brush teeth and hair.

7:20 The girls returned and got their "chore assignments" for the morning: put away dishes and move wet laundry to the drier and start it.

7:30 We all ate breakfast and finished chores. I had to write my fun HIPPY request for acceptance before our meeting.

8:00 The girls played with computers until everyone was finished {mainly me and my letter} then we finished putting up hair and took 1st Day of School Pics

KindergartenPreK-3Lil Bro 2

8:15 We cleaned up toys and headed into the school room to do the rest of our 'morning routine': calendar, season, weather, chore credits, and talk about our routine {combination of our old morning routine and chore chart} for the rest of the day.

Morning Routine

8:30 Finished cleaning up breakfast, loading the dishwasher, grabbed shoes and items we would need for our HIPPY meeting, put a diaper over J's "unnies" so if he had an accident while we were out it would be less...clean up.

8:45 Loaded in the van, hit up the Sonic for a morning DP and took off for Library Day.


  • We had a discussion about how we behave in a library, unloaded and marched into the new-to-us Faulkner County Library.
  • At the desk, we got our forms to fill out for 3 library cards {every "School Kid" gets a library card in our house 😉 }
  • Constant wiggling, talking too loud by the one with no volume control, and poop. Yeah. I was a sweaty mess just trying to fill out tiny forms and correct children.
  • We turned in our forms to be processed, got to pick out what color card we wanted: I bet some of you could guess, Mags- Pink, Izzie- Purple, Me- Yellow.
  • She said it would take a while so we headed to the really cool "children's section" where we got to see a "service dog" and read several books.
  • I let each kid pick one book to check out. Mags got one of her 1st "Level 1" Readers :'(
  • The cards still weren't ready so I let the girls go into the bathroom by themselves while Jamin and I looked at the sad selection of movies.

10:00 We checked out our books {each with our own cards}, change the nasty poopy pants, and head to library #2 for the day.

10:30 We made it back to Vtown with just enough time to scout out the library here in town. We had enough time in the little bitty library to each check out one more book each.

10:45 We swung by our house and picked up Matt so we could all go to the HIPPY orientation meeting together.

11:00 We signed in, turned in our letter & other documents, set a weekly meeting time, and picked a seat for our meeting.
During the meetings here in Faulkner county, the kids were taken back something while the parents sat and did the meeting part.

11:30 We got our supply & snack bags for the girls and headed home to figure out what was for lunch {we weren't sure if they provided lunch like the other HIPPY program or not so I had nothing planned}.

Girls after HIPPY on the 1st day of school11:45 We ate ham & cheese sliders, grapes and the juice boxes from their HIPPY snack bag. One by one, each kid finished lunch and showed daddy all their library finds and told him what all they'd done that morning.

12:15 We finished cleaning up lunch, loaded dishwasher, pottied, and headed to naps.

12:30 I started in on the catastrophe that was the school room. I have no idea when all this went down but I feel fairly accomplished having

  • unloaded the closet of all items the kids had been grounded from and added them back to their rightful place {this is usually the kids' responsibility since Not Cleaning Up is probably why they were grounded from it but I was reorganizing so I went a head and put them where I wanted them.}
  • organized and loaded book shelves
  • cleaned out and sorted writing utensil drawers
  • started the slow cooker for dinner {stew meat and potatoes already in the pot in the fridge from when I thought I'd make it Sunday}
  • rearranged some of the shelves to work better
  • hung all the printed/laminated/hole-punched labels on the canvas bins
  • Sorted, organized, trashed, moved to a new location, etc things like scrapbook paper, stickers, toys to be sold at the consignment event in a few weeks, etc.
  • traded out drawer organizer for better usage
  • got together snack and juice cups for when the kids got up from nap
  • hung kids name canvases and other framed canvases
    Newest Labels
  • created a new dress-up center using a quilt rack I've had forever
    Dress-up Center hanging outfits on an old quilt rack
  • unpacked a box of "older kid" books and curriculum
  • lined the wire shelf in the closet with cut up canned soda boxes so the books and curriculum wouldn't fall through
  • sorted paper/new reader books into bins.
  • created a new coloring book center
  • set up pictures of my babies on top of the shelf 😀
  • made a basket with empty folders {for easy access later}, old center signs {if I ever use those again}, and our laminated letters I plan to hang each week along the top of the room as we talk/learn about each new letter

School Room ready to rock

2:20ish Kids began to wake up from naps so they got their snack and juice cups and picked out one of the library movies to watch


Since cousins and bigger neighborhood kids have been over to play, my kids have discovered Recess. They ask me all morning if they would get "recess". Maggie actually ask me last night when she was picking what shoes to wear; "Will we be doing recess?" I kicked them outside after their movie with 2 bottles of water to share. After about 5 seconds they were nonstop in and out the door asking to if recess was over. Yeah. It's HOT! I was still finishing cleaning up my giant mess organizing so of course I threatened to lock the door if they didn't stop opening it and let them know I'd call them in when "recess was over".

3:45 I set up the playdough center in the freshly cleaned and organized school room at the preschool table and "called the kids in from recess". After wiping down their adorably sweaty faces covered in chalk dust, I sent them in to play with playdough and big cups of water.

Playdough Center

4:00 Matt came home and laughed that we were "still doing school". Sad ehh. I've been so disorganized that getting out the playdough center seems so structured it must be called school. LOL

4:30 I checked on the crockpot and realized the "stew meat" didn't quite look...done. CRAP

4:45 Matt makes an executive decision to get 1/2 price breakfast burritos for he and I while I shoved tater tots and fish sticks into the oven {over heated for quicker cooking time}


  • Kids start cleaning up the playdough center that was starting to migrate into every other room including the living room {Carpet}.
  • Two empty playdough tubs were thrown away becuase it was impossible to relocate the color that was supposed to return to it.
  • All the kids loaded up the "tool" basket and playdough tray.
  • J wondered off helped daddy set the table for dinner and waited in anticipation At the table for everyone else to finish cleaning up.
  • Mags wiped down the table.
  • I put the playdough back on the TOP shelf and swept.
  • Izzie helped sweep up the remains and through them away.

5:15 DINNER Yummy. The kids told lots of stories of "making and watching movies during recess" and I tried to sit. Breath. and Chew. 😉


  • We finished cleaning up dinner
  • loaded dishwasher
  • Matt and I put the mantel piece up that goes in the middle of the entertainment center
  • Matt {kinda} hung our new "Library Basket" in the school room where all of our "borrowed" books will be stored so we don't loose them from week to week & have to pay late fees.
    Library Basket where library books & movies are to be stored
  • I rearranged pictures and randomneess inside/on the entertainment center but still don't love it


  • started our "Bible Class". Also known as the newest "What's in The Bible" DVD {vol 8} we just found and opened for the kids.
  • I vacuumed up the playdough, wood scraps from the mantel projects, as well as snacks from days and days agoswept the odd lil wood floor trail around the living room and the entire dinning room/kitchen
  • I SAT down! Checked Facebook, email, and started writing this post.

I think not sitting as well as constantly moving leaving me no time for social media was good and helped me stay focused, accomplish lots more than normal, as well as stay more patience with my kids and what really needed to be done today.

Its also kinda dreaded but I realized how much cleaner and well run my house is when I plan. Even simple things like what activity my kids will do and for how long. Don't get me wrong; I think creative, thought-up-on-their-own play is greatly beneficial, but with fewer choices for them to sort through, there was so much less fighting, bickering, groaning, etc today. When ask about their day, they can tell their daddy exactly what they did. No more of this "played" nonsense. There were specifics, details, and joy in what they remembered. <3

6:30 The kids weren't as into "Bible Class" as we'd hoped and were tackling one another on the couch which turned into full contact wrestling over the entire living room and they added dress-up to the mix...ugg

6:45 Matt had to head up to the valley to train someone on the computer stuff and offered to take the kids. WINNING!

7:15 I'm wondering how much longer I have the quietness of my house with nothing but my thoughts, the humming of electronics, running refrigerator, and the therapeutic clicking of my fingers on the keyboard...


Quiet House

7:50 ...still now sign of them and we are supposed to be loading laundry, taking baths, brushing teeth, drying hair, going potty, taking/applying medicines, getting PJs & night time diapers on, and arguing with the kids about going to sleep...hmmm

We'll see what tomorrow holds 😉 Hope the peak into our day wasn't too mundane.

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