Alerting teachers to life threatening allergies

My sister sent me this image of her little one and it was such a cute idea I had to share.

Her children have some pretty severe allergies but neither are old enough to be able to articulate exactly how bad the allergies are. She wanted a simple way that the teacher could share with substitutes and other staff about the boys allergies. She came up with a simple plan.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Small dry erase board – the boys made these at a Home Depot Free Kids Craft Day



Write the child’s allergies on the board and then make a “NO” sign over them. Have the child hold the board while you take a picture. The image can then be emailed or printed at a local store for a few cents. The teacher can put printed images in her substitute folder or place them with any paperwork being distributed to other teachers (art, gym, music). Even if the teacher doesn’t know the child’s name she will be able to recognize that this child has a severe allergy.



Customized Binders

It’s back to school season again and this year my youngest Spawn needed a 3 ring binder. Not wanting to spend $6 on a zip up style binder we decided to get a cheaper, plain binder and decorate it ourselves. Here’s what we did.


  • Binder (any size), cost between $0.97 and $2 depending on where you shop.
  • Printed Duct Tape Sheets, cost $1.88 at Wal-Mart (we used 2)
  • Scissors and Markers


Remove any stickers or tags from the items. Be sure to rub off the adhesive residue well. Layout the design that you want for your binder. Cut as necessary to match the pattern or design. Peel and stick. When sticking you want to resist the urge to wrap the spine of the binder. Instead decorate the front and back and then cut a strip for the spine if you want to decorate it. If you don’t the tape will bunch when the binder is open causing it to loose its stickiness and eventually fall off. Here’s our finished design.

For our binder, we further embellished by putting my son’s name on the binder. He’s leaving the space at the bottom to write what it’s for once he finds out from the teacher. This was his design. You could use stencils, other stickers or Washi tape to design your binder. You could glue scrapbook paper although I haven’t tried that yet.

The Non-Parent Problem

You have to love the non-parent. Their children will be perfect. That’s right I said will be. The non-parent is that person who doesn’t have kids yet but knows exactly what’s wrong with yours.

My youngest child has always been a challenge. While I’m not sure what is compelling his behavior I do know that non-parents have even less of a clue about it than I do. When he was 2, and completely non-verbal, we visited a church while out of state visiting family. The Sunday school teacher, a non-parent who had met my child for the first time only an hour prior,  informed me that he wasn’t pronouncing his “phonomes” (pronounced “F0 – Gnomes”) correctly. She said this with such pride that you would have thought she’d found a cure for AIDS.

She apparently failed to recognize that I majored in Speech Pathology in college. I’m also fully aware that phonome is not a word, medical or otherwise. It was wrong but there was a sadistic glee in signing to him that we were leaving and watching her stand there nodding, like she was waiting for him suddenly start talking. For the record he did start talking, 3 years later, after having speech therapy.

I have discovered over the last few years that the best way to deal with non-parents is by using humour.  Humour disarms the non-parent who is completely prepared to try to convince you that they know best, despite being a non-parent. The trick is to be subtle, as in the example above. This allows you to defuse the need to punch them without starting a verbal altercation. Often they either walk away baffled that they missed some obvious sign of the problem or they stand there trying to pretend that they “knew it” all along.

Please feel free to share your non-parent stories in the comments.

Simple Learning Games for Kids

Even before I homeschooled I was always trying to figure out fun ways to help my children learn. These games don’t require a degree in education or a need lot of money to do. Most don’t even require any preparation. Most of these games were originally designed for younger children, but a few simple modifications and the games can continue to be used with older children.

Alphabet/Word Game

This game has no physical items and can be easily adjusted to your circumstances or child’s ability. The basic concept is to pick a letter and have your child tell you when they find the letter or an object that begins with that letter. As the child gets older you can run through the alphabet one letter at a time instead of focusing on a single letter. With older children you can have them pick words were the letter comes at the end or have them spell the words that they pick.

War Card Game - Battle

Image by PlanningQueen

Math War

The card game war is a childhood classic. It requires two players and a traditional deck of cards.

Basic Rules:

  1. Each player should have a half of the deck. Keep the cards face down.
  2. The players turn over the top card of their deck at the same time.
  3. The person with the higher card wins both cards and places them on the bottom of their deck
  4. If both cards are the same then you “declare war” by placing 3 cards upside down on the played card, then play a fourth card right side up.
  5. The person with the higher value card wins all the cards in play.
  6. The player with all of the cards is the winner.

Math Rules:

The only difference here is that the cards in step 2 are added or multiplied together. The player who correctly solves the math problem first wins the cards. Steps 4 and 5 are eliminated in the Math Rules due to the math problems being solved. In this version face cards are worth 10 points. So a King and 4 would be 14 or 40 depending on if you are doing addition or multiplication.

Pass the Pigs

This game can be found in toy stores for about $5. I always keep this game in my purse, even now, as it’s a great way to pass time in restaurants while working on math skills. The game consists of 2 plastic pigs and a score pad. The pigs have a dot drawn on one side of them. The pigs are rolled like dice and points are given based on how they land. If they land with one dot up and one dot down then you have a “Pig Out” and you lose your turn.

We have modified the rules to eliminate the score pad. Instead we continue rolling, and adding, until someone pigs out. The pigs are then passed to the next person to see if they can beat the previous score. I prefer this method as it gives the child practice with adding bigger numbers and the game can be easily ended when food arrives at the table or the doctor is ready to see us.

How to Make Boo Boo Bunnies

Boo Boo Bunnies

Boo Boo Bunnies are cute little bunnies with a hole in the center for an ice-cube. The bunnies make cute gifts for baby showers or as a project with older kids for the spring. They should not be used with children under 3 without modification to remove and/or secure the small parts. Modifications are listed at the end of the instructions.  It is not recommended that the bunny be stored in the freezer. Instead store the bunny in a dry place and only put the ice into him when it’s needed for a “boo boo”.

These are very easy to make and require only a few easy to find items.

Items needed:

  • 1 – 12 in. X 12 washcloth or piece of terry cloth with finished edges
  • 1 – rubber band
  • 2 – googly eyes
  • 1 – small white or black pom-pom for the nose
  • 1 – large colored pom-pom for the tail
  • 1 – 14 in. piece of ribbon
  • 1 – pair scissors
  • 1 – bottle standard white glue
  • 1 – plastic ice-cube (optional)


Layout the washcloth with one point towards you. Fold the bottom upward to make a triangle.

Starting at the bottom (long side) of the triangle roll the washcloth upwards into a tube.

Fold the tube in half.

Holding the tube flat, fold the ends up and back to the first fold.

Secure the second fold with a rubber band. (The ice cube will go into the space behind the ears where the finger is in the image above)

Adjust the ends back up to make the bunny’s ears.

Glue on the eyes, nose and tail. I like to use the same color ribbon as the tail but you can mix and match however you like.

Tie the ribbon around the rubber band to hide it.  For more variety you can use multicolored or patterned washcloths.

Under 3 Modifications

Replace the googly eyes with pieces of felt sewn down or draw the eyes using a Sharpie.

Instead of gluing the tail and nose, sew them securely to the bunny.

Thank you to my dear husband for holding the bunny still for the pictures. While they are simple to make they do require both hands.