A wave in a bottle (for you!)

I don’t know if my current state of affairs is temporary, but I suspect that it is not.  My children, specifically my girls, (because my older boys don’t really rely on me for entertainment anymore,)  are adjusting to life without a mommy who plans lots of exciting crafty activities.  Homeschooling has become a bigger part of our days as more and more children need math lessons (amongst other things,) not to mention Beatrix, who demands them.  She refuses to humor me when I explain that at age four you really don’t need formal math lessons.  She wants her lessons and she wants them now and she’s not really concerned with my lack of time.  If the rest of them are getting something, she better get hers too.

So as far as extra activities go, they need to be easy.  I need to be able to find most supplies in my own home or at the grocery store (the only place I go outside of music lessons and baseball games for the most part) and I need detailed instructions, with pictures.  It’s no wonder that my friend Annie’s magazine, Alphabet Glue, is the perfect match for me and my family.  Annie takes simple projects, breaks them down into even simpler steps (with pictures!) but then explains the science behind it all, so you feel like you are accomplishing something far from simple and definitely educational.  And then there are her booklists.  I can sit in front of my computer for a few minutes, booklist in hand, and request a bunch of books relating to a particular theme.  Then, I swing by the library, on the way to music lessons of course, and run in and grab the books from the front desk.  The next day, I hand my kids a stack of books, and open up Alphabet Glue and show them the project we are going to do that will tie together all the reading we will also be doing.  They love it.  And I am super awesome crafty educational mom providing literature themed projects.

In the past two weeks we have done most of the projects in the latest issue of Alphabet Glue:  Volume 12.  Most recently we made waves in a bottle; or more accurately, waves in two old liquor bottles that Seth dug out of the woods.  Beatrix and Larkspur claimed them, but it was Beatrix who truly fell in love, carrying around her little ocean in a vodka bottle like it was her baby.  Sadly, Larkspur’s bottle was discovered by Silas who promptly dropped it on the tile kitchen floor where it made a gigantic oily green food colored mess.  Jonny suggested that I mention that plastic bottles might be a better choice for these, especially since they beg to be shaken.  I was trying to be “green,” using those old liquor bottles, but I think in this case he’s right.  Plastic is probably best.  If you’d like to make waves in a bottle with your own kids, Annie was kind enough to put together a little pdf for you that includes not only the wave in a bottle instructions, but an ocean themed booklist as well.  You can download the wave in a bottle pdf here.  Annie is also offering 20% off all issues of Alphabet Glue through next Thursday when you use the code “smallthings” at checkout.

p.s.  In case you’re wondering what happened to Bea’s head: she fell off the bench at the kitchen table.  Tile floors are bad for glass bottles and noggins.

Alphabet Glue Volume Twelve



  1. I’ve been wanting to do this one, but haven’t gotten to it yet. My youngest had that same dress that your girl is wearing in these photos. It was one of my favorites, I smiled seeing it again.

  2. This is great! We were going to do ocean week next so this wave project will be loads of fun! Thanks for the tip about not using glass!

  3. That is really neat! Such a great idea! Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

  4. This is exactly what we need for next week. Though, my little ones are in an opposite phase from Bea – they are getting up in the morning and playing independently together all day, while I twiddle my thumbs and wonder if I should interrupt so we can do some “learning” together. Meanwhile they are really learning all kinds of things as they play together without needing my help! Things change fast, though, so it will be nice to be ready with this issue of Alphabet Glue for next week. Thanks.

  5. Thanks for the heads up on this site! I went ahead and ordered a bunch. My kids are going to think I’m awfully spectacular 😉

  6. Poor Bea! Our schoolroom floor (linoleum over concrete–it was a car port once) has left more bumps on noggins in 10 years…)
    Love the wave in a bottle. I found it on Pinterest long ago and must give it a try. Plastic is also lighter weight than glass, and it is being green, as you are reusing something that would go in the trash!
    Spring is here, which means that I’ve been pretty much “unschooling” for two weeks while the kids run down to the pond and through the woods and all over the place. But it is rainy today, so I guess formal lessons are in order…

  7. i love alphabet glue. i haven’t gotten the newest issue… guess i am going to have too. 🙂

  8. How amazing to learn so much and have such fun x

  9. Aw poor Bea! Their hair looks so cute though! 🙂

    I love the look Bea is giving Lark in the 6th picture!

  10. Great time saver.

  11. Ginny, do you think that 3 years is a little young yet for this program? Do you have recommendations for what I might do with my granddaughter.

  12. Oh, that must have been quite a mess. Those are the times when I wish I could keep my cool better.

    I just read an article about a homeschooling family sending their kids to college at 12 because they were demanding more acceleration. Now that would be something else! http://www.today.com/news/meet-family-who-sent-six-kids-college-age-12-1C9316706

  13. First can I say that the girls hair looks amazing. I love this project and I think it will be great to do with my kids. My 4 year old begs to do math lessons too. Maybe it is something about the age. My 5 year old wants nothing to do with math unless it is counting candy.

    • I’m really making an effort in the hair department and love that people notice! However, my skills are poor, so simple braids without even a straight part is all I can muster. I do wish I could do a nice french braid! But then, they won’t sit still for long anyway.

  14. just ordered volume 1!

  15. That looks like so much fun! I know my littlest would love it! (And as a bonus, I think I have an almost empty plastic vodka bottle in the freezer from making vanilla. The cheap vodka comes in plastic apparently, and I’m not buying high quality vodka for vanilla-making!)

  16. Thank you for the free pdf! It was just the inspiration I needed to finally order some copies of Alphabet Glue for my family. Every time you’ve featured it, I have wanted to and I finally did! Thanks again!

  17. lots going on for you! Hang in there, I understand that it is a super busy time for you as a Mom!

  18. just need to say – loving the girls hair 🙂

    • I am doing my best to braid it most days, so they look more well kept! I think I forgot to wipe their faces on this day though!

      • I was going to say the same thing…I almost didn’t recognize Bea without her trademark tousles! They look adorable!

        • The bangs that she cut awhile back are finally starting to grow out, but are in that messy in between phase 🙂

          • My girls are the same age as your girls and I am not a tidy-hair kind of mother! We are curly girls too which, perhaps is harder as it doesn’t really work to brush curls much or they fluff up. Or perhaps curly is easier cos you can’t see the nesty-knots in their early stages so clearly- in sleek hair even a kink shows- either way I reassure myself by thinking that those girls AND their mama’s have FAR better things to do than hair taming most days 😉 This post made me laugh cos I noticed the ‘Your Hair Has Been Done’ hair styles which I sometimes have here after I have a burst of hairdoing!!
            It’s something I love about your blog that the girls don’t have to have their hair photo-ready all the time!! It’s so nice to see…. I guess one day we might be thinking we wish they’d spend less time on their hair? (Teenage years I’m thinking of you!)
            Best wishes- and thanks as ever for the lovely pics and thoughts..

  19. This is great! I was just hunting around for a birthday gift idea for an 8 year olds party this weekend. Perfect. And I feel we are having a big push here doing more homeschool work and so the littler ones are fending for themselves. The house is a bit more messy. Also it is nice isn’t it?!
    Thanks for this!

  20. What a fun idea…minus the cleaning it up off the floor. My kids are into the mud pie kitchen at the moment, so my house is in a constant state of mess…but the kids are happy…and the baby still fits in the utility sink, so I got that going for me!! http://wegotourhandsfull.blogspot.com/2013/04/mud-pie-kitchen.html

  21. oh how I wish I had wonderful resources like this when I was homeschooling my children! What fun!
    PS…’math’ began here at a very early age in the bathtub. I had the plastic, colorful blocks, and chain (thingys) that we would sort by color and count. Play + learning = fun!


I love to hear from you!