Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our Littlest Coconut

She's here! She's here! Ohmygosh she's here!!!!

(clearing throat) Sorry, I'm still just a little excited. Our sweet and wonderful baby girl is finally here with us and let me tell you she is nothing short of amazing! Of course I'm not at all biased. ;)

Meet our little Juliet

Juliet came into the world on August 22nd at 12:52pm. She weighed 7lbs., 8oz. and was 18.5" long. She has soft brown hair and the most kissable cheeks ever!

James is absolutely head over heels in love with her. His first words to her were: "I love you, baby sister!!". He has showered her with so much love and affection that it has brought me to tears on more than one occasion. It's heaven seeing the two of them together.

My husband and I are just as proud as can be and feel so very blessed to have these two loves in our lives.

PS: I am beyond happy to report that, despite a very rough start, exclusive breastfeeding is going beautifully!! I owe so much to my friends and local La Leche League consultants for their support!

~Thank you for your comments!~

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baby Leave

Well friends, it's time I say good-bye for a while. Our sweet baby is due any day now and I have a feeling she'll come sooner than later. I can't say for sure when I'll come back to posting as I have no intention of rushing anything during this precious and fleeting time. I'll do my best to pop back in to share a photo of our new love and to announce her arrival since so many of you have very sweetly expressed an interest in her and my pregnancy.

I truly appreciate the warmth and well wishes so many of you have sent my way - thank you for that, your words mean more to me than you know. I'll certainly miss all of your positive and encouraging comments over the coming months, especially since that's when I'm likely to need them most! Wish me luck in this new journey as a mother of two!

I hope you all have a lovely fall season! Blessing, hugs, love and all that good stuff. :)


Thursday, August 18, 2011

August Sensory Tub - Back to School!

One last sensory tub for the road. I sure will miss creating these over the next few months!

Since James will still have school with my husband, I decided to go with a 'back to school' theme for this tub. I've been wanting to make this for a while, but opted for a fall/apple theme last year instead.

Here's what's inside:

:: Shredded notebook paper (James, under my supervision, used a shredder machine to make this)
:: Personalized pencil case (I won this in a giveaway. James can pack the supplies in the pouch and I know he'll love using the zipper!)
:: Crayons
:: Pencils
:: Erasers (which can be added to the pencil tops for a fine motor activity)
:: Pencil sharpener (to be used with the pencils, of course)
:: Scissors (James can further cut the shredded paper)
:: Paper clips (these can be used to make chains - see our recent activity involving this)
:: Wooden alphabet tiles with little holes at the top (to be used with the lacing string in the pencil pouch)
:: Number beads, 0-10 (can also be laced)
:: Foldable ruler - no clue where this came from; I've had it for years.
:: Tiny yarn apples knitted by me last year
:: Colorful shapes (they link together)
:: Mini homemade notebook (James can use the pencils he's sharpened or the crayons to draw inside of the notebook)
:: Small alphabet book
:: School bus calendar cards
:: Back to school novelty buttons (found at Joanne's years ago)

James had since grown tired of the transportation tub and the pond tub so this new one was welcomed with opened arms! His favorite thing so far is the foldable ruler. :)

Click the button below to see a full list of my sensory tubs or click here to view my slideshow on the Counting Coconuts Facebook page.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Homemade Notebooks

You guys have been making me laugh lately - whenever I put out a new post, I'll undoubtedly get an email or a comment telling me to "just relax and rest!" before the baby comes. I suspect you think I'm running around like a crazed pregnant women stuck in a crafting frenzy? Well, minus the running part, I suppose that's a pretty accurate statement. But what you must realize is that 1) I LOVE crafting and 2) creating things is a very relaxing pastime to me. Laying around and watching TV makes me anxious - I need to be doing something with my hands. Since we're officially done with school for a while, I've had more time to just sit and craft, hence my recent posts. It's been wonderful and very restful!

And thanks to the plethora of ideas out on Pinterest I've been at no risk for running out of crafty projects. I ran across this idea from Simple Home Stuff and went right to my happy place in making some homemade notebooks.

These are actually a much needed supply in our classroom since pre-made store-bought notepads (the kind with blank pages for drawing) are ridiculously expensive here. And my child is one of those who likes a fresh sheet of paper for, oh say, every new line he draws. Sure I gently encourage him not to do that and sure we use scrap paper and the back of old documents, etc., but when it comes to creating I understand the need for a clean slate. Also, there's something alluring about a book of paper. At least to me and James, anyway.

I won't bother sharing a full on tutorial since these are SO easy to make. Basically I just used cardboard boxes from various food items, I cut them into a variety of sizes and folded them in half to make a book. Then I folded sheets of printer paper (fyi, here's where the cost saving lies - when looking at the paper ratio, the price of a ream of paper is FAR cheaper than a pre-made notepad), and then cut the paper down to the size of the cardboard. After that I simply stacked and then stapled the paper in middle at the fold of the book. Easy peasy.

I know James will get a kick out of the images on the cardboard, but I'm a little.... particular... when it comes to how things look in my classroom. :) So, I covered some of the books with interesting scrapbook paper (see first photo). Those will go on our shelves for various works while the others will be for everyday use outside the classroom. The great thing about these is that they fit right into my purse, so bringing them to a restaurant or doctor's office or adding them to one of our activity kits will be a cinch.

I made some mini-notebooks, too. Just because I thought they were cute. :) I added a couple to the sibling gift I made earlier this week.

Another great thing about these notebooks is that they're reusable - all you have to do is pull out the staple and add more paper!

~Thank you for your comments!~

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fruits & Numbers Giveaway Winner!

I can't tell you how much I loved reading everyone's baby predictions and well wishes! Thanks SO much for taking the time to share them with me - what a warm community of women we are, don't you think?! I feel blessed to be a part of it. :)

The winner of the fruit manipulatives and jumbo numbers is...

Jen Raubenolt!

Congratulations, Jen! Please email me at within the next 48 hours with your contact details.

Monday, August 15, 2011

To James, With Love

The bassinet is ready, the hospital bag is packed, countless lists have been made... everything's all set and ready for our little baby girl's arrival!

One final preparation was this gift to James from his new sister. I read that it's a good idea to get an older sibling a special gift from the new one - I suppose so they get off on the right foot. :) Ha!

I was inspired by this idea from Ms. Martha Stewart to put together a little package of goodies. In one of my handmade gift bags I included some of James' favorite things: a disposable camera (he loves taking pictures and I thought it'd be cute for him to take some of his new sister), a mini homemade notebook with a tiny pencil (he's really into writing "notes" lately), some fun bugs, a small container of gummy bears, a wrapped gift (dollar store binoculars), and a special homemade card.

I'm bringing the gift to the hospital with me and we'll give it to James when he meets his sister. I can't wait to see my two loves together for the first time!

~Thank you for your comments!~

Pattering With Paper Clips

I heard about these links and patterning cards and went around the island in search of them, but not surprisingly I came up empty handed. That's one fun benefit of living in a place where resources and selection is limited - you're forced to become inventive!

I realized the links are really nothing more than paperclips without the clip. :) The point is the link and you can certainly do that with paperclips! And the cards were easy enough to create (in Word). James will use the them as a guide to create various patterns (ABAB, AABB, etc.).

I'm making these cards available to you - just click this link to download. As with all of my printables, these are for your personal use only. Please do not sell or offer them in a giveaway. Thank you!

Oh and here's another paperclip activity James came up with. He began creating letter and number shapes with the clips, so I dug out these jumbo cardboard numbers for him to use as a template. BIG hit! (FYI, I *think* the cardboard numbers were found at Michael's Crafts.)

~Thank you for your comments!~

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Autumn Calendar Cards

A while back, on my CC Facebook Page, I took a poll about which style of calendar cards I should make next. Quite a few of you gave your input (thank you!) and it was a tight race, but I ultimately chose an Autumn/Harvest theme. I hope you find them useful in the coming months!

Click here to download

Keep in mind that I format these myself, so they're not perfect, but they'll certainly get the job done. : ) Also, as with all of my printables, these are for your personal use only - please do not sell or offer them in a giveaway. Thank you and enjoy!

~Thank you for your comments!~

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tic Tac Toe, Jumbo Numbers & A Mini Giveaway!

~This giveaway is now closed~

There! How's that a for a creative blog post title? Ha! Can you tell I'm just really running out of brain power and energy? (Btw, only 10 more days 'til baby comes!!)

We've been taking things really easy lately. Really easy. I haven't felt like doing much and thankfully my sweet boy is quite content to do anything as long as it means we do it together. So there's been a lot of reading books, coloring, and playing simple games like this one...

I made this tic tac toe board on Word (you can find the download link on my Free Printables Page) and I found a variety of things to use as the game pieces. Game piece options are endless (think legos, mini erasers, coins, die cuts, toys, etc.) and changing up them up keeps the game interesting.

In addition to the flat marbles, we also used these fruit manipulatives. You've seen us use them in the past and they really are just the most versatile things - aside from game pieces you can use them for counting, sorting, mystery bags, poetry baskets, practical life work, etc. I bought them at a garage sale here on the island, but you can find them at Lakeshore Learning.

Another fun learning tool we've been working with are these jumbo cardboard numbers. I've had these for quite some time and I can't be sure where they came from - I *think* Michael's Crafts? Anyway, these too are quite versatile in that you can use them in art projects, counting activities, math games, or even as classroom decorations!

Ok, as for the giveaway, I realized I have an excess of both the jumbo numbers and the fruit manipulatives. With a class size of just ONE child, I really don't need all the extras that come in these packs, so I thought I'd share them with one of you!

Here's what I'm offering: one set of jumbo numbers (0-9) and 20 fruit manipulatives - 5 of 4 different styles (apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes). Basket NOT included.

I don't want to make a big deal out of this giveaway because, as I said, I'm just keeping things light right now. If you'd like to win this little combo pack, simply leave a comment on this post.

But wait - now that I think of it... if you're in the mood whilst leaving said comment, I'd sure get a kick out of any baby predictions you'd like to make (i.e. what day/time you think she'll arrive and maybe even her height/weight - just for fun!). And who knows, perhaps I'll send a little something to whomever guesses everything correctly! For those interested in taking a guess, it may help to know I'm already 3cm dilated, I've been having strong Braxton Hicks contractions a few times a day, I'm scheduled for a c-section on the 22nd (which is exactly 39 weeks for me), and my belly is measuring on schedule. And not that this really has much influence in this pregnancy, but James was 9 days early, born at 5:54am, weighed 6lbs. 11oz. and was 19.25" long. :)

The giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on Tuesday, August 16th at 9:00pm Atlantic Time. Good luck!

~Thank you for your comments!~

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Busy Hands

Yes, we have school in our jammies. : )

James working on our foam (dollar store) clock and the fabric numbers I made last year.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Yarn Along - Baby Toys

Our little babe has plenty of warm knitted things to wear now, but as I went through all of James' old baby toys, cleaning and sanitizing them, I realized she has no new toys of her own!

The first thing I made was this little bunny blanket (my nod to her being born in the Year of the Rabbit). I was inspired to make it after seeing it on Frontier Dreams (she makes the most lovely things for her children). She suggested wetting the paws on the bunny and then popping him into the freezer which will make a nice teether for sore little gums. This was very easy to knit and is oh so soft and cuddly! You can find the pattern here. I used 100% organic cotton (sorry, I don't recall the brand).

These are teething rings. I really hemmed and hawed over whether or not I should make these. Bermuda is such a moist environment year round and mold has a knack of growing everywhere. These just seemed like mold traps waiting to happen. Then I read a bit more about them and read other's suggestions and I realized since they're felted, I could wash them in the hottest water over and over again. And, like the bunny, I can dip them in water, set them in the freezer and know that my baby's gums are being comforted by a natural fiber instead of plastic. For all the colors I used Malabrigio 100% merino wool in the colorways: Ravely Red, Tiger Lily, and Pollen. You can find the knitting pattern here.

These aren't knitted, but I thought I'd share them anyway. I made these "crinkle blankets" on the suggestion of my very best friend who just became a mama herself! She said to me, "I have something you can make for the baby! You take a chip bag..." and there I had stop her and laugh. Somehow 'baby toy' and 'chip bag' just didn't seem to fit together to me! But they do - the chip bag (or any other similar kind of "material") is where you get the crinkle! I did a quick search online and found this tutorial. Still without a sewing machine, I stitched these by hand. I had planned to make several, but just one took me over an hour to make! I used flannel (just cut up one of James' old receving blankets) for one and some cute Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric for the other. The ribbons are from my scrapbooking fibers stash.

Not included in the head photo (since I knitted these later) are these balls I whipped up using this pattern. VERY easy knits and a great way to use up some of those tiny balls of leftover yarn!

Since I'm linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along I have a book to share as well. I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading (for the 3rd time) Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne's House of Dreams all by L.M. Montgomery. I have all three stories combined in one volume. and they've been some of my all-time/long-time favs. Have any of you ever seen the Canadian version of Anne of Green Gables? The TV mini-series from the 80's? It came out when I was about 12 (Anne's age when the story begins) and I felt I found a kindred spirit in her character. Like Anne, I was a wide-eyed dreamer with an imagination sometimes too big for my own good. :)

~Thank you for your comments!~

Monday, August 8, 2011

Me On The Map

I saw this nifty idea over on Finally In First and knew we had to make our own version. James can already recite his "place" on the map, but I thought he'd enjoy making and having a visual guide, too. And he loves when things are personalized.

We had such a great time putting this together and spent the entire school day just working on this project! James had so many questions, thoughts and opinions on various aspects of this - it really was quite educational for him (and very entertaining for me, too!).

The idea here is to teach a child that the world is much bigger than what they know and it gives them a sense of where they are in the grand scheme of things.

~our planet~
I printed this coloring page off the internet, James colored it in and then added star stickers to symbolize outer space. He loves anything that has to do with numbers and letters and was giddy about the letter stickers we used to spell out 'Earth'.

~our continent~
I found a North America outline on Google Images and I printed and cut it out. James pin punched that onto orange foam paper (orange being the traditional Montessori color for NA) and I cut it out from there. The little orange dot to the right is Bermuda. James insisted we add a dolphin to the ocean. :)

~our country~
It was fun to be able to use up some of my old scrapbooking paper. The water paper was a huge hit with James. I found an old deck of cards that had an image of Bermuda on them, and we decided to add the national bird, flower and flag, too. Oh and the airplane - that was a must as far as James was concerned for "How else are we going to get home?", he said. :)

~our parish~
Bermuda is made up of parishes, which are basically small towns.

~our street~
James said he likes this one best because of the green car. Our car is green and at the moment he's very attached to it and imagines it has feelings and sees, hears, and thinks things. (This is thanks to the movie Cars 2 we recently saw in the theater). I purposely blurred out our street name in the photo for security reasons.

~our home~
All of the homes in Bermuda have quirky house names (one of my favorite things about Bermuda). Again, I blurred out ours for privacy. James LOVED the little cut out of himself and it made me think that I should create mini cut outs of our little family and paste them onto popsicle sticks - he'd get such a kick out of it.

On the back of each circle is a little factoid sheet I made. They all start with "5 Facts About My....". These are just simple facts, nothing overly textbook-ish, especially the facts about the street and home - I had to get really creative there! I wrote things like, "My street has 3 bus stops", and "My home has blue hurricane shutters".

To create all of this I used cardstock for the main circles and whatever fun papers I could find to match. I chose my color scheme ahead of time, got everything ready to be put together and then I had James do all the pasting and decorating. I didn't use a template for the circles, I just drew them freehand, and I don't know the dimensions. I paper punched a hole at the top of each circle and connected all of them with a cute little brad.

This was one of my favorite projects we've done so far and even after we move, I plan to hang on to this as a sweet keepsake. :)

~Thank you for your comments!~

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Free Printables


The issue with Google documents has been fixed and ALL documents are accessible (I've had several people retrieve them with success). Please be sure to follow the directions below exactly in order to access the document you're interested in.

1) click on the "LINK TO DOCUMENT" in the post (you will be taken to Google documents)

*IF a preview of the document does NOT appear, proceed to steps 2-4.*

2) click on the word "FILE" on the top left hand corner of the screen (a drop down menu will appear)
3) click on the word "DOWNLOAD" (a pop up box will appear)
4) select "OPEN WITH" and your document will appear!

All of my printables are free and available to you for your personal use only. Please do not sell them or offer them in a giveaway. If you use them and write about them on your blog please be sure to link back to Counting Coconuts. Thank you!

Nomenclature Cards
To download please follow the directions as indicated at the top of this post.
Instrument Nomenclature Cards: link to document / original post
Adult/Baby Farm Nomenclature Cards: link to document / original post
Nut Nomenclature Cards: link to document / original post

To download please follow the directions as indicated at the top of this post.
December: link to document / original post
Weather: link to document / original post
Springtime: link to document / original post
Farm: link to document / original post

To download please follow the directions as indicated at the top of this post.
Life Cycle of a Star Cards: link to document / original post
Life Cycle of a Star Control Sheet: link to document / original post
Seed Graphing: link to document / original post
Toddler Lego Counting: link to document / original post
Weather Words: link to document / original post
Alphabet Box Cards: link to document / original post
Gender Chart: link to document / original post
Island Scavenger Hunt Chart: link to document / original post
US & Bermuda Coins: link to document / original post
Large (blank) US Flag: link to document / original post
Small US Flags: link to document / original post
Star Sizing : link to document / original post
Daily Food Chart: link to document / original post
Halloween Bingo Cards: link to document / original post
Halloween Bingo Sheets (there are only 2): link to document / original post
Robot Cutting Strips: link to document / original post
Robot Memory Game: link to document / original post
Tic Tac Toe Grid: link to document / original post
Paperclip Pattern Cards: link to document / original post
Peace Cards: link to document / original post
Angry Birds Bingo: link to document / original post

Circle Time Songs
To download please follow the directions as indicated at the top of this post.
Weather: link to document / original post
Springtime: link to document / original post
Dinosaurs: link to document / original post
Farm: link to document / original post

Calendar Cards
To download please follow the directions as indicated at the top of this post.
Gardening/Spring: link to document / original post
Fourth of July: link to document / original post
Summertime: link to document / original post
Autumn/Harvest: link to document / original post
Birthday: link to document / original post
Carnival: link to document / original post
Summer/Lemonade: link to document / original post
Disney: link to document / original post
Halloween: link to document / original post
Thanksgiving: link to document / original post
Christmas: link to document / original post
Spring/Rainy Day: link to document / original post

I hope you enjoy my printables! If you've seen something on my blog and don't see a printable for it here in this list, feel free to leave a comment in this post and if I'm able to I'll add it when I get the chance.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Mini Unit - Halloween

Here's the last mini unit! This makes seven total. More than I had originally planned to make and the recent ones have been more involved (compare the robot mini unit to the transportation unit - it's laughable!), but that's how I roll. I get an idea and then I run as fast and far as I possible can with it!

Certain themes we've covered in our 2 years of homeschooling have been more interesting to James than other themes. Halloween is one he looks forward to all year. So, since my teaching hiatus will occur over the month of October, I thought I'd devote a unit to all the fun and not so scary aspects of Halloween. To see my posts from Halloween past, click here and here. :)

~an overview~

Tweezing Spiders (Practical Life). This activity reminds me of the game "Operation" because you have to be careful to get the tweezers into the small opening, pinch a spider, and then carefully draw it out of the pumpkin without dropping it!

Finger Puppets (Just For Fun!). Ha! Love the little orange arm peeking out of the bag! :)

Pencil Sharpening (Practical Life). These pencils, like the finger puppets in the above photo, are things James received while trick-or-treating last year. Hooray for non-candy treats!

Lacing Spiders (Practical Life). These spider rings have nice, big loops and bunch up in a fun way to create a spooky spidery necklace!

Patterning Cards (Language/Math). I made these last year using clip art from abcteach (yes, I have a membership, and yes, I think it's worth it). :).

Pumpkin Manipulatives (Math/Sensorial). These acrylic pumpkins are very pretty and come in a variety of colors and sizes. I found them at Micheal's in the US. James can use them for sorting, math, imaginative play, and as our bingo counters.

Mini Sensory Tub. To see past sensory tubs, click here and here. This one is full of all sorts of goodies: feathers, chip board signs (found at a scrapbooking store), spiders large and small, puffs, erasers, skull beads, purler beads in black, purple, and white, and letter buttons that spell out the word "Halloween".

Make A Pumpkin (Art). James isn't much into art whether it be free creation or prepared crafts. He is, however, a big fan of pumpkins so I think he'll enjoy the end result of this craft. I've prepared everything he needs to create two cute little pumpkins.

Skip Counting (Math). As in some of our other mini units, I created some blank skip counting cards (on Word) and then added puffy stickers to make them more interesting. This set counts by 5 up to 100.

Parts of a Skeleton (Science). I printed the booklet from Montessori Print Shop (note: it's actually a set of 3-part cards - I just used the title cards) and I included a little glow in the dark skeleton (found at the dollar store). James can match the parts from the booklet to the corresponding parts on the skeleton.

Stamping (Art/Just For Fun!). As a photo, this activity looks extremely dull. :) But James loves stamping and will cover page after page with stamped images.

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin (Science/Language). This is also from last year and I printed it off from the Montessori For Everyone website.

Scissor Practice (Practical Life). I love these stickers - they're puffy, shiny little candy corns. :)

Punching (Practical Life). I just strips of scrapbooking paper for this activity and there's a little container (not pictured) for James to dump the punched pieces into.

Counting Cards (Math). No counters with this activity. James enjoys numbered items and spends a good amount of time simply putting them in order and creating new numbers.

Poetry Basket (Language). Also from last year - in fact, it was our first poetry basket and the poem was written by me. :)

Books (Language). Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming, Arthur's Halloween by Marc Brown, Clifford's Halloween by Norman Bridwell, and Happy Halloween by Rosemary Wells.

Bingo (Language). I made this myself using clip art I purchased from here. You can find a link to download this here on my printables page.

Worksheets and Mini Activity Book (Language/Math/Art). The color pages were found free online and the worksheets were created by me. The activity booklet was another trick-or-treat giveaway.

Collage (Art). These are foam stickers in Halloween shapes. James likes stickers, so I'm thinking he'll enjoy sticking them on the paper and also tearing the paper to make a collage. He has access to scissors, paste, and other art tools in our supply basket.

Pumpkin Playdough (Sensorial). This playdough, like last year and the year before, is scented with pumpkin spice and smells de-licious!

All packed and ready to explore!

~Click the button below to view more of our mini units.~

~Thank you for your comments!~


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