Monday, April 26, 2010

About Me & My Blog

Hi, I'm Mari-Ann. I was born and raised in Minnesota, USA, but I'm currently enjoying life without snow on the island of Bermuda.

The most important thing in my life (after God) is my family:

photo taken on one of our first dates :)
I'm a blessed wife of 11 years to my dearest friend, Paul...

(born April 2011)
a stay at home mom to our bright and beautiful boy, James ...

(born August 2011)
and our sweet angel, Juliet.

Oh, and I'm a slave to two loving, yet mischievous kitty-cats.

I have many interests and hobbies: I love knitting, sewing, painting, spinning wool, organizing, reading, writing, teaching, singing, thrifty shopping, gardening, photography, cooking, listening to music, traveling, and exploring this beautiful island.

Why "Counting Coconuts"? I came up with the name after seeing my son count the coconuts on a large palm tree outside our home. It was his favorite tree and he always made sure to stop and take notice of it. :) Counting Coconuts seemed like the perfect title for our blog because it mirrored not only my son's love for math and his favorite tree, but also our love for nature and our journey through homeschooling.

There's a special place in my heart for the Montessori method. I am a certified Montessori teacher and I'm educating my son using this method - you'll find all of our Montessori activities here on this blog.

I've also recently discovered the beautiful world of Waldorf, and have begun incorporating some of it into our daily life as well.

I hope you find some useful ideas here! If you have any questions you can contact me at countingcoconuts1(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thanks for stopping by!


Ariella said...

sure! send me an invite to

Jen said...

I love your blog. My name is Jennifer and I was drawn to your blog for a few reasons. We both have toddler boys and we both live on an island. Me on Maui. I stay at home with my little boy and have incorporated some of your activities into our lives too. love your ideas and the montissori method. Thanks for having a great blog!

The Sunshine Crew said...


You won the hand embroidered, personalized pencil case made by Montessorian A.E. Wilder. Please contact me with your mailing addy so that she can contact you and can mail it to you directly. Congrats on winning!

Colleen from Sunrise Learning Lab

Strawberry said...

Love your blog too :) I have used many of your Montessori activities. Thanks for a great blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just found your blog this week and I loved it immediately! I'm a stay at home mom to two toddlers and though my son goes to preschool right now, I have a huge interest/facsination with homeschooling. I had never heard of the Montessori method, but I am going to look into it; it sounds very interesting :)

I'd love to get an invite to your blog. You can e-mail me at

tracey (aka rainbowmummy) said...

Please may I read your second blog? Xxx

Jen said...

I love when you share like this! I wish we could've spent more time together while I was on the island, you are such a fun person!


Alone in Holy Land said...

Mari-Ann, I love the new blog presentation!
Your blog is such an inspiration for me and I am also thankful to have you as a virtual friend. I would love to read your other blog also. You know my e-mail.
Maya is still sick, I'll post some updates on my blog soon.

themagiconions said...

I love your blog!! Bermuda looks wonderful!!
And your beeswax ornaments turned out wonderfully!!! Isn't beeswax the best :-)
Blessings and magic,

Susana said...

Just wanted to let you know I am making my blog private. I've gone back and forth so much, but private is going to be the only way from here on out.

If you'd like an invite, please send me your email address and I'd love to include you.

twolittleseeds said...

Hi, Please may I follow your second blog? I love this site, its amazing!

Michelle {Fun On a Dime} said...

You mentioned that you are doing a Montessori teacher certification course. Can ask who/where are you doing this through? I would love Montessori and would love to learn more on how to get certified.

Unknown said...

Hi there,
I found your blog on's must read Montessori blog list -- it is my favourite. I visit your blog daily now as I run a little Montessori learning group from my home and I love all the pictures and ideas! I am in the process of creating my own Montessori Parenting blog, as a Mom and Montessori teacher myself, and would love to read the parenting views you've mentioned you discuss on your other blog, Island Life. If you're still accepting requests for invites that would be great. My email address is Thanks!

RedTedArt said...

Hi Mari-Ann

What a lovely lovely blog! You are so creative!!

I do a monthly "Get Crafty" to "inspire others to GetCrafty themselves and post photos, descriptions and links of how to on it.. would love to post some of your things. This month's theme is "nature" - please do pop in and take a look? Maybe you would like your fish project to go in?

Email me or comment on my blog! Thank you!


April said...

Love your blog. I am also a SAHM. I have three little ones I will be homeschooling also. I will be using the Charlotte Mason method, but I really love a lot of the activities/lessons that I have seen in Montessorri and I would love to include them in some of our studies. I don't know much about Montessorri since most of my time has been spent learning about CM, but from what I have seen they seem to be very similar. Can you tell me if there is a main book, site etc that I can get ideas from. For example, with CM to understand the method you really should read her full six volume oringinal hs series. Does Montessorri have any sort of main go to books like that. Sorry to be picking your brain so much, but there is so much info out there it is easy to get confused so I thought it would be best to ask someone who is certified. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer. I will definately have to start following your blog. I loved looking at all the different tools you use...I sort of wanted to play with them it looked like your ds was having fun. Especially with the rainbow my dd will love that she tears the stickers of everything she can get her hands on! lol Anyway there I go's a nasty little habit i haven't been able to kick! :) Thanks again! April

Linda said...

Hi Mari-Ann,
I'd love to read your Island Life Blog. cokelush at gmail
Aside from being just plain nosy :) I would LOVE to be an expat somewhere... but can't bear the thought of leaving my granddaughter & adult daughters so... I live vicariously through others who are living that life. We do love to travel tho' & I <3 to learn about new places & people. Thanks!
I'm going to be reading this Counting Coconuts from cover to cover! I have our 2.5 year old granddaughter 2x a week & we've been doing some Montessori & Waldorf activities. Your blog has already got my mind spinning with new ideas for us to do! Thanks so much! - Robin

Melissa said...

Just found your cute button on Milk N' Honey Learn and Grow blog. Stopped by to checkout your site. I absolutely LOVE it! You've got lots of creative crafts I can't wait to try. I'm now following!

P.S. putting your button on my blog!

C said...

Hi Mari-Ann,

What a treasure trove of ideas your blog is! I find my mind is reeling with ideas after I read your blog. You are truly inspirational and I am in are truly talented and are so creative in all that you do.

You mentioned on your 4th of July ideas feature to contact you about uploading your templates for the cards, the flag in the flag game and the size sequencing stars. Would it be possible to e-mail them to me? Yes, I could make my own, but with 4 young sons at home, I am not too proud to use someone else's templates and save precious time!


Unknown said...

I was wanting to ask your opinion about NAMC homeschool curriculum. Are you familiar with it? What are your thoughts? I'm thinking that it may be a good fit for my family. Would love to know your thoughts!
Terri Ann

T. Wright said...

I love your blog! Because of all you do for children and families I gave you a Versatile Blogger Award in my most recent blog post:

Leaps and Bounds Childcare said...

I love your blog and have been following it for a year. I am a childcare provider living in Minnesota and I have used many of your ideas. I would love an evite to your other blog. Thanks for the inspiration! Melissa

Counting Coconuts said...

@Leaps And Bounds Childcare: Thanks very much for stopping by! Please email me so I can have your email address - I'll need it in order to send you an invite.:)

daniela said...

i love your wonderful blog!
i'm a sahm to four little ones and i try to incorporate some montessori elements into our homeschool. i already got so much inspiration from your ideas -
thank you so much for sharing!!

anagotadavida said...

I stumbled upon your blog from the Homeschool MOntessori website. I enjoyed looking at all your materials and feel a kinship with you as I used to live on the island of Nassua a few years back. I am originally from Washington State and have been working here now in a Montessori school for 5 years now. Thank you for sharing your experience as an expat as well as a Montessori teacher. Your works are beautiful and am jealous of the sunny blue sky...i think that and the coconut trees are what i miss the most.

Vero L. said...

Hi from Spain! My name is Veronica and I think that is amazing what you do at home with your child. I love your blog. Your ideas are really interesting. Thanks for sharing your blog with us! Best wishes!

Vero L. said...

Hi from Spain! My name is Veronica an I think that is amazing what you do at home with your child. I love your blog. Your ideas are really interesting. Thanks for sharing your blog with us! Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and I love it. I have to explore it some more but I have a three year old and this stuff looks like stuff I can do with him at home. Some are trying to get me to put him in school but I am not sure i want to yet. I am following your blog now! Great stuff!

Unknown said...

Hi Mari Ann :) I'm following your blog for some time now. And, if you would like, I'm willing to send you couple items from Croatia for your European continent bag. If you think it's a good idea, mail me at: :)

Crazy Christine said...

I love your blog. There are so many great ideas. I just started volunteering at a Montessori school & I can see many activities that I will be using, starting with the letter spinner. I would love an invite to your blog.

The Hawkinson's said...

Amazing! Your blog is so hard to walk away from. We are starting down the Homeschooling path and I am very inspired by your work. Please send an invite to, I would really appreciate it. By the way, it is still only 39 degrees here in Minnesota, enjoy the sand and sun for me!

Thanks so much!

pavi said...

I recently discovered your blog and I absolutely love it!! I am in awe of how creative and organized you are. You are truly wonderful and thanks for sharing all your great ideas.

Neds said...

I'd love an invite to your other blog.AM loving this one.

Dinah said...

Hello. I just wanted to take some time to let you know that I have been following your blog for the past few months and loving every minute of it. You have so much info I haven't been able to go through it all yet! I kinda knew about the Montessori Method but not much. But reading your blog in addition to other sources, has really inspired me. I am a stay-at-home mom to a wonderful 4 yr old girl. It is such a great thing you do and I appreciate it so much. Thank you again for a great blog.

Raphaelle said...

Hello Mari-Ann
I absolutely love your blog! It is full of fantastic creative ideas, and I have already made a shortlist of things to do. My daughter just turned 1 and am a childminder for a 3 year old as well.
Thank you so much for sharing all this!!
I would be keen to read your other blog, will email you so you have my email address. Thanks a lot in advance.
Raphaëlle, from Toulouse in France

Cindy said...

Hi from Minnesota! I am enjoying your blog and hope to use some of your ideas within my speech therapy sessions. I often wish I could be in Bermuda especially after this winter in MN! Thanks for all the great ideas.

Terri said...

Mari Ann,

Just wanted to thank you again, for creating such a sweet blog full of love and sunshine! It brings me such peace. I LOVE the fact that you aren't trying to profit personally from your postings, which is something hard to find these days! So nice to just share information and kindnesses. You have such creative ideas, and I am always inspired. Your blog has made me think long and hard about the stress of living in a busy suburb, and I now have my eyes on a calmer part of US. We will see if my dreams materialize. I hope so! Thanks for being an inspiration to the mom and teacher within me, and where were you 15 years ago, when my babies were just starting to come into this world. I have passed your url out to countless moms and we all drool at your work! Pure beauty and thoughtfulness and dedication! Love your blog!

Counting Coconuts said...

My goodness you are all so kind. Your thoughtful comments and words of encouragement are what keep me writing on this space! Thank you all so much for taking the time to share the love, I sincerely appreciate it.

*hugs to all of you*

buildingblocks said...

one word 'INSPIRATIONAL' iam a childminder in the UK who always wanted to do Montessori training and have stumbled across your blog by accident from a link on FB and spent the whole of my day off reading posts on here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mari- Ann,

I have been your follower ong time..but probably never have commented before...I just wanted to tell you that your blog is really informative and helpful....I am thankful to you that you share :)

Take care

Liam & Izak said...

Hello from the other side of the world (Slovenia).
I just love your blog. So many interesting ideas, wow! There's still a lot I have to read but so far I'm impressed :) Hats off to you for being so well organized (would like to learn from you) and keeping everything so neat.
I will continue reading your blog with pleasure!

Лёлишна said...

You are SUPER MOM!!!!!! YOUR BLOG IS VERY INTERESTING!!! From Russia with LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Emma C. B. said...

I am very excited to have found your blog. I was a home-schooled child, k-12, and I am fully intending on homeschooling my children (we are expecting our first now).
My mom didnt know much about home-schooling back then, its about 18 years ago so there wasnt a whole lot of resources and ways to connect with other homeschooled parents to get there Ideas. Your blog is awesome and I am so glad to have found it!


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