Showing posts from August, 2009

Storytime Fun: Getting Dressed

A is 21 months old.

This week's Tot School theme for books was getting dressed. My little one is showing lots of interest in putting on her clothes and shoes, so I thought she would enjoy this theme. We didn't get through all of the books I selected, but she definitely picked her favorites again. I've starred her most requested books in the list below.
Mary Wore Her Red Dress and Henry Wore His Green Sneakers adapted and illustrated by Merle PeekJoseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback *Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London *Ready for Autumn by Martha JocelynElla Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-IrvineJesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White CarstromIn addition to sharing these books, A enjoyed drawing with chalk, "writing" with pens, and coloring with crayons. She loves her Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD and is recognizing letters (and sounds) all over the place! I am amazed at how she is learning them. I also picked up this Kumon Let's Col…

On My Bookshelf: What to Read When

A few days ago at work, I came across a fabulous book called What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read with Your Child - and All the Best Times to Read Them by Pam Allyn. This book is an amazing resource for children's literature.

The beginning of the book (Part I) includes information on why reading aloud is important, four keys to help children become lifelong readers, and landmark books in children's literature. Titles mentioned in the landmark books chapter include Madeline, The Snowy Day, and Where the Sidewalk Ends, plus many more.

Part II of the book contains suggested books for different ages from birth through ten. Titles are recommended by age and then within each age, recommendations by type of book are made.

Part III of the book is a list of books for children that fall under one of fifty themes. Some of these themes include "Birthdays/Growing Up", "Loving Art", and "Sleepovers". Each title included in this section has a brief s…

Porch Mini-Makeover

We were running some errands this morning, and made a stop at Lowe's. I was so excited to find that they had a bunch of outdoor furniture and accessories 75% off! I picked up this little white metal table for $7.50, 2 cushions for $3.25 each, and 3 pots for my mums for $2 each. When we got home, my mom and I put together the little table and put the cushions on the chairs. The porch is now a bit more comfy for relaxing during this last part of summer and into the fall.
Since I know many of you reading this are amazing DIYers, I'd love some advice. Here is a picture of the front of our house. (Please excuse my tired looking flowers!!) As you can see, the house is a tiny, plain ranch. I love cottage type home...cape cods, etc. What are some inexpensive ways you can think of for us to inexpensively add some cottage charm to this place? Looking forward to hearing from you!!
For more amazing DIY inspiration, visit A Soft Place to Land for DIY day!

Farmer's Market and Cooking From the Garden

We had a long weekend this past weekend and enjoyed some family time. We went to the zoo and especially enjoyed looking at elephants and fish. I was disappointed that the butterfly area was closed, since we have been reading lots about butterflies. We got to see a few in the garden, though.

Friday afternoon, a neighbor gave us 8 good sized tomatoes. I decided we were going to try making some tomato sauce. Now, you have to understand that while I love spaghetti sauce and other tomato-based things, I really don't like raw tomatoes. However, I figured I would be fine making this sauce. Oh my soon as the skin started coming off the tomatoes, I was gone. I just don't like the smell or texture of tomatoes. My husband was a trooper and finished making the sauce. I did manage to eat it, once I got past the thought of the raw tomatoes.

On Saturday, we made a trip to the Farmer's Market. I was thrilled to get a peck of Paula Red apples for $3.50. In addition…

Storytime Fun: Butterflies

A is 21 months old.
This week, we enjoyed lots of books on butterflies. I gathered many different books on the topic, but several of them were too long for a toddler. We still looked through most of them, but I have starred my (and my daughter's) favorites below.
Fancy Nancy: Bonjour Butterfly by Jane O'Connor - The illustrations in this book are so charming and lovely.
*Butterfly Colors by Helen Frost - I try to include a nonfiction title each week, and the photographs in this one are very nice. The book is small and there is only about one sentence per page.
Becoming Butterflies by Anne Rockwell - This book was too long for us, but I love Anne Rockwell and it would be great for older preschoolers. It really examines the life cycle of a butterfly in depth, in an age-appropriate manner.
Fly, Monarch, Fly! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace - In addition to the story, there are a variety of informational pictures and diagrams on each page. Too long for us, but good for older children (pres…

Muffin Tin Monday Swap

I've participated in Muffin Tin Monday a couple of times and read posts about it several times. It's such a neat concept and my little one really likes to use the muffin tin for her food. When I saw Her Cup Overfloweth was holding a Muffin Tin Monday Swap, I decided to participate. I was so excited to get my package from StephD at A Pocket Full of Buttons.
Here's what she sent! Heart-shaped silicone muffin tinUmbrella picksStrawsTeddy GrahamsSprinklesFabric wipe container &Toddler bib from her Etsy shop, Sew FierceWhat an awesome package!! Thanks so much! We love everything!

Storytime Fun: Back to School

School is here or right around the corner. I have seen some different back to school booklists recently, but here is a list that I put together. These are picture books suited to younger children, but several of the stories would be appropriate for kids even in 3rd or 4th grade Happy Reading!!

The First Day of School by Toby Forward
Little Rabbit Goes to School by Harry Horse
Off to School, Baby Duck! By Amy Hest
Mr. Ouchy’s First Day by B.G. Hennessy
First Day of School by Kirsten Hall
My First Day at Nursery School by Becky Edwards
The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom
How Did You Grow So Big, So Soon? by Anne Bowen
First Grade, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson
A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech
Miss Mingo and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper
Little Cliff’s First Day of School by Clifton Taulbert
Mouse’s First Day of School by Lauren Thompson
My First Day of School by Nancy Skarmeas
I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas
First Day, Hooray! by Nancy Poydar
Moses Goes to School by Isaac Mill…

Framed Paper

I found this idea for framing fabric at Tea Rose Home a couple of weeks ago, and have been wanting to try it. I was excited that our Dollar Store had the frames and picked up 5.
When I found this cute Amy Butler scrapbooking paper at a local discount store, I decided to try framing this scrapbook paper instead.
Here is the finished product! (I broke the glass in one of the frames...oops!) I think we are going to try hanging these in our kitchen, I will be sure to update with more photos. This project was inexpensive and lifts my spirits just to look at these frames! For more DIY projects, check out A Soft Place to Land!

Storytime Fun: Fruits and Vegetables

"A" is 21 months old.

This week, we read lots of books about different kinds of fruits and vegetables. We didn't do a lot of theme related activities (I am finding that I am not so good at planning crafts!!) but my little one loved watering our baby pumpkins with her watering can. We also danced to "Fruit Salad Salsa" on Laurie Berkner's Victor Vito. She also enjoys "writing" with pens, colored pencils, crayons, and markers and had lots of opportunities to do this. We also found a water table on clearance for $9 at Target (!) which she is having fun with right now, too.

These are the books we read this week:

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
Growing Colors by Bruce McMillan
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
I Eat Fruit! by Hannah Tofts
I Eat Vegetables by Hannah Tofts
One Cool Watermelon by Hannah Tofts I liked that these three books by Hannah Tofts were nonfiction and showed photographs of the different produce. They also were great for introducing …

Curriculum Clean-Out Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered the Curriculum Clean-Out! Using, I selected a winner for each pack of books.

Pack #1 goes to MoziEsme!

Pack #2 goes to Nancy N.!

I've contacted both of the winners, so please get me your mailing information so I can get your books out to you! Congrats to the winners!

Curriculum Clean-Out Giveaway Reminder

Just a reminder that my curriculum clean-out giveaway ends tomorrow! I will accept comments until midnight tomorrow (August 15). I will announce the winners on Monday, August 17. Stop by and check out all of the other great giveaways, too!

Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

This is the time of year for zucchini in abundance! The only thing to figure out is what to make with it!

I have had this recipe for Choco-Zucchini Cupcakes from Better Homes and Gardens since last year, and finally got a chance to make it. The recipe is simple and uses very common ingredients. The cupcakes baked up wonderfully and taste great, too.

Instead of making peanut butter frosting, I made a simple chocolate frosting, but peanut butter would taste yummy, also.

What are you making with your zucchini?

For more DIY projects, check out DIY Day on A Soft Place to Land!

Gifts: 6-year Old Birthday Girl

This is a very belated present, but a family friend's daughter turned 6 this summer. We wanted to send a little present, so this is what I put together:
Jump Rope: $0.99Crayola Mini Twistables: $0.49Embellished Composition Book: $0.50Children's Place T-Shirt: $3.25Total Cost: $5.23What are some of your favorite (frugal) presents for kids?

Storytime Fun: Ocean and Beach

"A" is 21 months old.

This week, we read lots of beach and ocean books and did some of the following activities. I always gather more than I can use, so I can save the others for later! On Friday, we went to a local beach where she got to throw rocks in the water and walk in the sand.


Spot Goes to the Beach by Eric Hill

How Will We Get to the Beach? by Brigitte Luciani and Eve Tharlet

Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck

All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle

Who's in the Ocean by Dorothea DePrisco Wang

Crafts: (We actually didn't do any crafts, but here are some good ideas!)

Tissue Paper Rainbow Fish (from Our Crafts 'n Things)

Once Upon a Book

Ocean Crafts

Music:"Baby Beluga" by Raffi"The Goldfish" by Laurie Berkner from Victor VitoSnacks:Sharks on the Beach (from Her Cup Overfloweth)

Other Resources:

Beach Centers from The MailboxPreschool - June/July 2009, pp. 44-47

ABCs and 123s Ocean Themed Activities

Check out Tot School at 1+1+1=1

Garage Sale Goodies

This was a fun day for garage sales! I picked up some fun things for our house, clothes for our little one for fall, and even a pair of boots for me. I got a set of Stampin' Up stamps, a Pampered Chef Cake Decorator, 4 shirts, 1 pair of cords, and a nightgown for my daughter, black boots for me, a puzzle, and some fall decorations. Total cost: $17.25

Did you find anything at garage sales this weekend?

Curriculum Clean-Out

I am so excited that Homeschool Creations is holding a Curriculum Clean-Out for the next couple of weeks! I am just starting to teach my little one, but as a former teacher, I still have some curriculum materials to go through. I came up with a few items that I will be giving away in two different giveaways.

These materials are not new, but are in good shape. I will only ship within the U.S., so please keep that in mind when you enter. This giveaway will be open until Midnight on Saturday, August 15. I will choose two winners and announce the winners on Monday, August 17. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and let me know which group of books you'd like to win!

Pack #1:
Short Vowels BookConsonants BookFive Senses Thematic UnitApples Thematic UnitAmelia Bedelia and the BabyPack #2:Read It Again More Book 2, Grades 3-5 (This has teaching ideas for various books like Pippi Longstocking, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Island of the Blue Dolphins)Long VowelsVowelsAmelia Bedelia Helps Out

On My Bookshelf: Sewing Green

I recently requested a bunch of different sewing books from the library. Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made With Repurposed & Organic Materials by Betz White is one of my favorites! The ideas are really great and many are fairly simple as well. I also love the photographs of the different projects.

A few of the projects I have bookmarked are:
Striped Cafe Apron - Made from a men's dress shirtLunch Tote - With a grosgrain ribbon handleReusable Sandwich Wrap - Made of PULBeach Bag - Made of placematsEasy, Breezy Skirt - Made from a pillowcase (I am still on the hunt for some vintage linens. Hoping to find some before garage sale season is all over!)I haven't made anything from this book, but I have really enjoyed looking at the ideas. Sometimes getting ideas is half the fun! Have any of you seen this book or made anything from it?If you're interested, here is Betz White's Blog and the Sewing Green Flickr Group. She also has an Etsy shop!

Crafts I've Been Making

I haven't posted pictures of some of the new things I've made in a little while, so here is a quick round-up!

I've made these three mini crayon holders. I am trying to start making some things for the craft show that my mom participates in at the end of November.
I finished a little pre-smocked dress for my daughter. These dresses are so fun and easy! I have some pre-smocked ballerina fabric to make another one and I bought some owl print corduroy to make another dress. I'm deciding between a jumper and a t-shirt dress.
I also made a drawstring backpack using bandana napkins purchased at Target. They were 75% off and cost a dollar. I used this tutorial from Make It and Love It. It was so fun and I have already used it twice. I will definitely be making more!
I have a whole slew of ideas for my "next projects". Here are a few: Framed fabric from Tea Rose Home - I found 2 of these frames at our dollar store!Fabric Flower Clip from So Lovely CreationsLunch bags and …