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Tag: pen pal

In an effort to make it easier to keep track of Satori’s penpals that she’s been writing to everyday lately, I’ve been trying to think of a very easy system for both Satori and I to manage it all. For awhile now, I’ve been on the lookout for an accordian file folder to carry all of Satori’s penpal letters she receives. The past weekend, I was in luck! I found this at Target! It’s attractive enough and has a magnetic clasp to store everything neatly when not in use.

It’s the perfect size for Satori’s currently active 10 penpals! I think there are 13 pockets total.

There’s a few extra folders that we’re using to store writing paper, envelopes and stamps.

Each penpal has their own folder in which we’ll store their letters. Even better, today I whipped up these sheets of Avery label stickers, and each sticker has the address of the penpal and Satori’s return address. Avery’s website also allows you to choose a fun image, so we chose birds, books, bees, snowman, etc… to dress up the outgoing envelope a bit.

After Satori writes her letter, she can grab one of these stickers to stick on the envelope! I even included stamps in there. Before she seals the envelope, she has to give to Mommy to check over before we send it out. I’ll make sure it has enough postage and is appropriate and it it will go to the post office! (Addresses grayed out below for privacy.)

And this might scare people off how overly organized I am about this, but I even included sheets for every penpal so we can track incoming/outgoing letters and notes. We have a few penpals with the same name, and more than a couple going to the same state, so all this is going to make it much easier on us!

Satori was absolutely ecstatic and she tested it out by writing to her long-time penpal who lives in California. She thanked me over and over! The effort to get this all ready for her was worth it.

My favorite homeschooling forum started a Flat Stanley project and it launched this past week! What is Flat Stanley? The idea originates from a book series written in 1964 about a boy who got flattened one night from a bulletin board falling on him. He then travels the world by mailing himself in an envelope!

Our list will send Satori through over half the states of the United States and two other countries, with participants emailing us photos of Flat Satori in their various geographic locations! In turn, we’ll take photos of their Flat Stanleys in front of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado.

To make Flat Satori, I selected a recent photo of her entire body. I lucked out and found one right away. I printed it out on cardstock paper, cut it out carefully, then laminated it. Here she is!

For a size perspective, here’s Real Satori  holding Flat Satori.

We have to make them small enough to fit in an 8×11 manila envelope.

We’re sending it out to 50 families. Because I didn’t want to get bored with the same old photo, I used Photoshop to make a couple different versions. A few of her facing the other way, and one with a blue dress. 🙂 Thank you “Replace Color” in Photoshop.

Here’s  our Flat Stanley book collection.

I wanted people to be able to hold Flat Satori up without covering her body, so I stuck a magnetic stick on the back. Never mind little orange mouth girl in the background…

During shipment, the stick can be moved up and stored perfectly behind Flat Satori.

Some people make their Flat Stanley children out of a template, which also sounds like a cool idea! But being an amateur photographer myself I thought it would be cute to see an actual Satori everywhere. 🙂

It’s a beautiful summery day on the weekend and while we wait for Daddy to finish up some work, we decided to write to Satori’s pen pals. Here she is at her desk, sporting a carrot mustache. We have been making fresh juices every day and this one had carrots, apples, celery, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts and orange. What a delicious way to sneak in vegetables!

We’re excited to add a new pen pal today! The past half year we’ve really only been going back and forth with one little girl who lives in California. We’re adding a little boy today and this letter is heading out to the same state.

A bit about this particular letter. We are using our new Handwriting Without Tears “Regular Double Line Notebook Paper, where the lines are spaced 3/16″ apart. Her handwriting has been getting smaller and she started her 2nd Grade HWT printing book last month, so this paper is going to be great! The Wide Double Line we used to use was 5/16″ spaced lines.

I really wanted her to write this all on her own, mispellings and all, but she was adamant that she spell everything correctly. So she asked for help on which “OW” sound the word “mountains” had. After I said to use the “ou” spelling, she then proceeded to spell “how” as “hou”, hehe. She still needs reminders to use periods at the ends of her sentences. But she tried very hard to use her “proper grip” and write neatly for her new friend. 🙂

Hmmm… That last sentence, let me explain. This weekend, Daddy is going to sleep in the bottom bunk of her big dollhouse bed, and she will sleep on the top bunk. She gets so excited about “sleepovers” like this, and she even packed Daddy’s toothbrush/toothpaste in her bathroom and his pillow on the bed.

Satori learned all her lowercase this fall and after a quick review this past week on how to write them all correctly, we present to you, Satori’s very first penpal letter showing off her lowercase letter skills! Satori told me what she wanted to write to her new friend Aspen, and mama dictated the spelling.  Coincidentally, this was also our very first time we actually tried to “properly” use Handwriting Without Tears Wide Double Line Notebook Paper designed for K-1. For her first letter, not bad. You can see she sometimes wrote capital letters in the same small space. She’s also trying hard to write her “e” correctly, so she redid that a few times.


I didn’t realize until recently this was indeed the perfect paper for Satori’s level. I had all kinds of “beginner” lined sheets, but all the lines are confusing. Which one to start on? What’s that dotted line for? What about all the colors – blue, red, green, black… Confusing! She ended up just ignoring lines altogether. But with the HWT paper, there is only the bottom line and the midline, which is all she needed to start improving on her lowercase handwriting. Plus, it has lots of room to write.

After we finished our HWT Kindergarten book, and before we pulled out the above paper, Satori and I spent two days practicing lowercase on HWT’s Blackboard with Double Lines.  Some letters took a few tries, but eventually she did some pretty good work. Below is a quick word I just had her do, but she was distracted and wanted to work on her computer, so she didn’t focus on perfection. But I wanted to show this word in particular, with a tall letter, a small letter, and a descending letter.


We have one more week of review, and then a short Christmas vacation, and then we’ll start in on  our HWT First Grade book.

to a little girl who never sees fall leaves… Sorry if we always take pictures of outgoing cards before the receiver gets them, but I love to document them. 🙂

Up here at 9000 feet in the mountains, we do not get to see rich reds and oranges in the trees, only vivid gold aspen leaves. And of course we see the greens of the evergreens. But it only takes 30 minutes to get low enough to find some of the colorful leaves!


Here’s sending some of that color to a little girl who doesn’t get to see the autumn color near her home… This is the same leaf we took a picture of a few days ago down in Lyons, Colorado, pressed and hopefully will be enjoyed a bit longer. The color faded a bit before we pressed it, but it’s still very pretty.


Satori wanted to write this letter, I had nothing to do with the sentences except to help her spell them. (And I didn’t help too much, I seem to have forgotten a word, hehe.) She’s come so far from the time we first started sending out pen pal letters. In the spring, I will probably not have to help her do anything to write her letters!


We dedicated the middle of our day to writing to Satori’s pen pals, which is fun handwriting practice. This has been an enjoyable hobby, even though not every pen pal that wants us to write to them writes us back. But the joy Satori gets from reading the postcards and letters is priceless. We did get a postcard from Spain, but no return address, please let us know your address so we can write you!

Satori writing pen pals

Satori writing pen pals

Satori drew some great dinosaur pictures on her letters. 🙂 Our most familiar one lives in Michigan, so we decided to send her a special treat. 🙂 We picked flowers last week, pressed them, and put them on a little board.

Colorado wildflowers

Colorado wildflowers

It turned out so cute, we picked more flowers today! They are now being pressed in some heavy books, and we hope to send these out to Aitlyn in Indiana tomorrow. Mama tried to identify the flowers on-line, but gosh, the flower photos on all the flower websites are pretty bad, it’s hard to figure out. The mountains are bursting with flowers though this time of year, so Satori and mom will take a hike this week to take pictures, identify them from our books, and post them.

fresh flowers

fresh flowers

Satori also wrote to her first international pen pal! A little boy named Tuva who lives in Norway. Of course she wanted to know where Norway was, so we pulled out the globe.

Pen pal in Norway

Pen pal in Norway

Today is our first day to write to our new pen pal. I was all prepared to have Satori dictate and I would write it out for her, but Satori insisted on writing her own letter. She even brought me the paper and pen! So that’s how we started. Satori wrote a 3 page letter to her new friend. (Each page had a sentence.)


She knew how to write all her own letters except K, Y and L. She had a tough time writing her N, W to name a few. We haven’t really worked on writing yet, but I have a feeling the pen pal correspondence will be a big incentive.

Here’s her letter with mama’s typed translation (in case they need it) and a bit more of a letter, along with a drawing of Satori with her new pen pal.


Then we mailed out our letter at the post office! After that we went on a hike.


We got a good view of Eldora Ski resort here. I do not know how to photograph landscapes, hopefully this summer I will get better.


Here Satori is looking out her binoculars to see if she can see any skiers.


And I kinda like this photo, the white Aspen tree against the darker evergreens…