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Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in Children's Literature, Kindergarten, Library, Preschool | 0 comments

Fab Five Fridays: Children’s Books, Volume Three

Fab Five Fridays: Children’s Books, Volume Three

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Books are something you can never have too many of. We love books. We have LOTS of books, whether from birthday & Christmas gifts or hand-me-downs. Our collection is growing as our children grow and we couldn’t be happier!

When I started the Fab Five Fridays: Children’s Books series, you can see we were in a different place in our parenthood. We were reading board books to please our eager toddler. Now that our children are older, they naturally enjoy more advanced books.

1. Press Here by Herve Tullet (all ages)

We love this book so much, we purchased the iPad app! Press Here will hold a child’s attention through the entire book. It’s so captivating and, more importantly, FUN! The website even offers activities related to the book. Enjoy!!

Press Here

Photo Copyright Chronicle Books

2. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (ages 3+)

Though this book may not be appropriate for the much younger crowd, it’s very amusing. Our kids really enjoy the humor involved and get a laugh each and every time it is read in our house.

I Want My Hat Back

Photo Copyright Candlewick Press

3. The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (ages 4+)

This is another book geared toward preschoolers and up. Morris Lessmore is full of imagination. Our oldest daughter can relate to the idea of getting lost in a book. The illustrations are wonderful and story line clever. And, by golly,there is a short film. Little did we know the film came first, then the book. Of course, there is also an app. We added the film & the app to our wish list – more on that later!

Morris Lessmore

Photo Copyright Moonbot Studios

4. Journey by Aaron Becker

Winner of a 2014 Caldecott Honor Award, Journey is unlike any other book we own, quite unlike any other book I’ve seen. There is no text, simply beautiful illustrations covering the pages of this lovely book. A young girl guides us though the creative world in which she lives to let our minds wander. I highly recommend this book for children who love storytell, or for those who haven’t yet tapped into their imaginations.

Photo Copyright Aaron Becker

Photo Copyright Aaron Becker 

5. Can You Find It? by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art

Our kids LOVE finding objects in real life so why wouldn’t they love them in books?! They have always been keen on finding Waldo and his friends, so we branched out into the world of seek & find books and found this gem. Each set of pages has a pretty scene of famous art in which they search to find items listed. I love the art, of course, and think they do, too!

Photo Copyright The Metropolitan Museum Of Art

Photo Copyright The Metropolitan Museum Of Art

 

 

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Posted by on Jan 3, 2014 in Children, Crazy Mom-isms, Creative, Decor, DIY, Economical Activities, Education, Family, Home Decor, Homeschool, Kids Activities, Kindergarten, Library, Lifestyle, Minimal Living, Motherhood, Organize, Save money, Stay At Home Mom | 3 comments

Space Invaders

Space Invaders

20140103-120818.jpgHere’s a little something you may not know about us: We live in a 1200 square foot town home.

Five people. Two bedrooms. One general living room. One kitchen. One dining room. One and a half bathrooms. One garage. One basement.

One work-from-home Mama. Three homeschoolers. One hundred percent childhood energy.

You do the math.

This photo depicts an organized, believe it or not, version of our current set-up for a “play area”. (It may appear a tad hazardous, but not to worry, those shelves are anchored several times to insure safety.) All of our new Christmas presents & overflow of toys have been sorted and arranged. This is pretty much everything the children have, nestled into this puzzle of shelving.

The homeschool area was just relocated yesterday & has to be organized, art & projects hung up, shelving installed. This is depicting the bare minimum.

There is always something more needed in this space. We always need something more to keep us from going bonkers while living in close quarters.

Sure, we have outgrown our space. You’re not the first person to think that, not would you be the first to call me crazy for choosing to homeschool three little ones in such a tight space.

The time will come when we have our own home, but now, life is just too busy and hectic to have to worry about a new roof, a leaky hot water tank, broken windows or a new refrigerator.

We are making due with what we have because that is the way to happy.

We are choosing happiness together. Really close together.

For tips on how to stay organized with lots of toys, books, games, puzzles, and supplies, please don’t ask me.20140103-121935.jpg

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Posted by on Jul 20, 2013 in Baby, Breastfeeding, Children, Choices, Cooking, Creative, Economical Activities, Family, Healthy Lifestyle, Homeschool, infant, Kids Activities, Library, Life, Marriage, Moderation, Motherhood, Motivational Posts, Natural Parenting, newborn, Parenting, Philosophy, Stay At Home Mom | 2 comments

How I Function {With Three Kids}: Part One

How I Function {With Three Kids}: Part One

Be realistic. Generally I never make an appointment before 10am. It takes at least one half-hour per child to prepare to leave the house, just to exit the front door. Why make yourself crazy?!

Go easy on yourself. I breast feed on demand until my kids are at least 12 months old. Trust me, it’s easier!

•Like I said, Go easy on yourself. I co-sleep. We’re all much happier and there’s much less wailing, crying and whining, and much more sleep for everyone.

(As I type these facts, I realize this is a great reminder to myself that it is all worth it! The love in our family is apparent and whole.)

Let them do it. We teach our children (usually with their lead) to brush their own teeth, wash their bodies, clean themselves, get themselves dressed, clear their plates from the table after meals, etc. I’m not ashamed to say we potty train at an early age, with baby-led signs, simply to make it easier. Our kids have usually been ready by eighteen months, and we’re just fine with that! They love to get themselves dressed and brush their own hair after baths. Obviously it builds self-confidence and boosts their big little egos. It’s a win-win!

Eat well. We eat whole, raw foods often; I cut up fruit and vegetables to have ready to eat in the fridge. I make crock-pot meals and sauces and many times I don’t cook! (Thank you to our local grocery store, Wegmans, for your super easy $6 Meals which provide my family with a nutritious meal when I am too busy to cook.) When we DO cook, we pretty much make meals in an assembly line, healthy pyramid-style, directly to the kids place at the table. Time-saving and nutritious!

(Speaking of time-saving, invest in an inexpensive, clean-able, wipe-able tablecloth. HomeGoods has pretty, inexpensive padded plastic tablecloths that are appealing enough to use while your kids are young.)

•We read a lot and watch tv only sometimes. Our 4 1/2 year-old now loves to read to her siblings, which is truly the most precious thing ever!

Live comfortably. The house is most certainly always messy. We’ve agreed that our priority is the children, so any disarray that gets in the way is just secondary to them. (And they’re ALWAYS the ones creating the mess so we know they’re enjoying themselves thoroughly!) As they say, a messy home is the sign of happy children.

Relax. I take baths to relax, about once a week, in the evenings when the kids go to bed (or sometimes before, thanks to my dedicated husband!). Everyone has their thing, mine is often baths. Sometimes I paint, sometimes I read, but the most efficient way for me to relax is a hot, steamy bubble bath.

Date other people. We take our kids on one-on-one “dates”, even if it’s just to the grocery store, the library, or to fill up the tank with gas. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a little something from time to time to let them know they’re important and loved.

Get creative. Literally. We pile up the scissors, glue sticks, crayons & paper and ask them to make a castle or a butterfly, a rocket ship, whatever! They’ll come up with something even if you can’t, don’t be afraid to get artsy. Check Pinterest for ideas if both you and your children are at a loss. {Doubtful.}

Call in the troops. We enlist help. We have family that is close & we call in them when we need their assistance. We don’t take advantage (we rarely go on “date nights” and even more rarely go out with friends together – and we’re ok with that.) so we only utilize their loving babysitting when needed for work-related things, appointments, outings like that.

Above all, enjoy the ride. Love your children, kiss and hug them often. There is always one piece of advice every new Mom hears repeatedly: It flies by. And it really does. In the blink of an eye, you will be choosing a first birthday outfit, picking which soccer camp they’ll attend, playing ‘Tooth Fairy’, teaching multiplication, then *gasp* applying to colleges.

Just. Stay. Little.*

What are some tips you would like to share? What gets you through the day with your family?

*I met this beautiful woman who creates beautiful pieces for little girls. Debbie from Sweet Lemonade has a cute little necklace with this phrase, “Just stay little”, and it says it all. We are collaborating on a few sweet surprises to come! Stay tuned.

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Posted by on Feb 2, 2013 in Children, Crafts, Creative, Economical Activities, Family, Friends, Homeschool, Kids Activities, Library, Motherhood, Music, Natural Parenting, Parenting, Party, Save money, Stay At Home Mom, Weather, Winter | 3 comments

Save It For A Rainy Day

Save It For A Rainy Day

Sometimes life brings us rainy days…or snowy ones. We feel the walls caving in on us and we must get out of the house!

Let’s face it – there are also days we never leave the house. And there are days we can’t afford to leave the house, or shouldn’t, anyway.

I have come up with ways I never thought possible to entertain the kids. Especially on rainy and snowy days, we always find things to do.

Here’s a brief list:

•Go to the library.
This isn’t the most imaginative idea in the world. It’s probably close to your home, it’s usually spacious, and it’s FREE. Most children love books, and there are usually other story times and activities scheduled daily to keep your little one entertained.

•Have a dance party in your living room.
Every family must do this, if you haven’t already! Put on your favorite music – it will become theirs, too. Loosen up & get silly! We do the robot, the funky chicken, the shopping cart, among other classics, as well as make up our own – the bear, the giraffe, the roller coaster. Your kids will love you forever.

•Do a new craft.
Something you’ve never done before. Maybe something you are too intimidated to try, or too anal to clean! Sometimes it’s time to break out the paint, play dough, glue, & glitter and not worry about the mess. The mind it creates surpasses the mess it creates, by far. Again, your kids will love you for it! Check whimsicalsweet on Pinterest if you’re really at a loss for ideas.

•Make a fort.
Bust out the blankets and pillows & get creative with this free activity! We often make obstacle courses and mazes out of blankets, pillows, ottomans and sofas, too. Get imaginative & create a scene. You can be in a forest or an aquarium, a zoo or a jungle. Pretend play goes a long way and is good for brain growth and for the soul. 🙂

•Get crazy in the craft store.
As sort of a reward for being nice and patient while we shop for my art & craft supplies, I’ll drop by the foam play things aisle and let the kids play for a while. So far, nothing has broken (*knock on wood*), and their imaginations can run wild in someone else’s space for once! Michael’s, JoAnn’s, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby – they all have an aisle with foam hats, swords, shields, magic wands, crowns, etc. that you can “borrow” and test right there in the store. Just be sure to put everything back where it was and ask your children to do the same. And if anything gets worn or broken, buy it. Both are good lessons for them to learn.

What are some of the things you like to do or used to do with your children on rainy days? What activities are free or easy on the wallet?

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Posted by on Apr 29, 2011 in Children, Children's Literature, Family, Kids Activities, Library, Natural Parenting, Save money, Stay At Home Mom | 1 comment

Fab Five Fridays: Children’s Books, Volume Two

Fab Five Fridays: Children’s Books, Volume Two

Hello blogging world!  It has been a while since my last post, and for legitimate reason.  Our sweet one year-old was hospitalized for a terrible case of roseola.  We are grateful and ever-so-thankful that he is home now, recovering quite well and regaining his immunity.  I am glad to be back to writing.  I will certainly attempt to find the time to jump back in full-throttle!  Thanks for being patient readers!

Today is Friday & you know what that means!  FAB FIVE FRIDAYS!!  I have chosen to continue with “Children’s Books” since we all know there is an extensive & e’er-growing list!  As always, I would LOVE to hear your favorites!  Keep reading 🙂

1.  “I Love You Through and Through”  by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak, Illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church

2.  “ABC’s”  by Charlie Harper

3.  “Jamberry”  by Bruce Degen

4.  “Feed Matisse’s Fish” by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo

5.  “Millie Moo”  by Camilla Moody

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Posted by on Apr 1, 2011 in Children, Children's Songs, Healthy Lifestyle, Kids Activities, Library, Music, Passion, Pregnancy, Save money, Stay At Home Mom | 3 comments

Fab Five Fridays:  Music For Little Ears

Fab Five Fridays: Music For Little Ears

One thing I took time to do when I was pregnant with my firsborn is begin a music collection.  This collection includes everything from cd’s to music boxes and is always growing.  I have come across some great music!  Music is top priority on my list of “must-haves” with a new baby.  While in utero, my babies listened to quite the variety, pretty much everything!  Now that they’re on the outside, they still listen to a little bit of everything.  Lately we listen to music that is more their pace but always keep the variety.  It’s the spice of life, you know 🙂

In no particular order because I can’t play favorites, our most listened-to baby cd’s include:

1.  Rockabye Baby  http://rockabyebabymusic.com/

This is a fun series.  You can get your ears on music box renditions of Coldplay, The Beatles, Radiohead and Metallica among many others.  TONS of selection.  I was lucky enough to come across these albums (they are still called albums, aren’t they?!) when I was still carrying our first baby so we’ve collected many by now.

2.  Putumayo  Kids  http://www.putumayo.com

 Phenomenal music for the entire family to enjoy.    Putumayo Presents CDs have expanded in the last few years and we couldn’t be happier!  We could listen to our collection all day.  “Sesame Street Playground” gets us going in the morning.  “Picnic Playground” is the perfect complement to our meals.  We have music happy hour in the afternoon when we’re not busy at our Music Party with friends listening to “Rock and Roll Playground”.  Finally, we  often end our day with “Dreamland” (& sometimes “Acoustic Dreamland”).  That’s not to say we don’t listen to ALL of the CDs Putumayo puts out, even the non-Kids CDs are fantastic.  A friendly tip:  check them out at your local library before you purchase to see which ones you like best!

3.  Baby Einstein  http://www.babyeinstein.com/home/

I don’t care what has been said about these cd’s.  I am fully aware that they are not guaranteed to make my baby smarter.  I can’t even believe that the company had a lawsuit filed against them for such reasons.  Agh, America, come on!!  These discs are great for anytime!  We love “Traveling Melodies” for long car rides, or even short ones 🙂

4.  Curious George Soundtrack, Jack Johnson & Friends  http://www.amazon.com/Longs-Lullabies-Curious-George-Johnson/dp/B000CR7RDE

We jam out to this cd constantly as a family.  One of my favorites-it’s the best cd to accompany you in making dinner!  You don’t have to love the movie or Curious George to love this music.

5.  Baby Loves Jazz  http://babylovesjazz.info/

“Go Baby Go!” is a rockin’ good time!  Admittedly, I didn’t even realize there was a collection of these until doing a search.  I’m excited to find out there are more!!  Singable tunes your children will remember, not to mention yourself and your partner!

I hope you find new titles in some or all of this list.  I love to share music with people!  As always, please feel free to share your personal lists by leaving a comment below.  And you can look forward to more when I follow up with Fab Five Fridays:  Music For Little Ears Volume TWO!

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