“My Family” Picture Books by Claudia Harrington

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

At the library you can always find me searching through the new titles in the children’s section.  I love picking books that are going to teach and show my children something different.  I want them to know and understand different topics including families that aren’t your typical mom and dad.  I don’t shy away from books that deal with topics that are deemed controversial.  For me, if it’s age appropriate and tackles the topic in a respectable and loving manner, then I’m checking the book out and reading it with my children.

The “My Family” picture books by Claudia Harrington was a great find at the library.  I was quickly drawn to them and super excited.  I didn’t think twice about putting them in the check out pile.  I was able to find 3 titles out of the 6 in the series.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

mytwodads

by Claudia Harrington, Illustrated by Zoe Persico

Here’s a brief synopsis of these titles above:  Lenny is the class reporter in these books and he follows his classmates home for a school project.  He learns about Elsie and her life with her two moms, Connor and his life with his dad and military mom, and Jasmine and her life with her two dads.

51UvnuaOhRL._SY434_BO1,204,203,200_      51cSFZV3+cL._SY434_BO1,204,203,200_     51d+bY437qL._SY434_BO1,204,203,200_

These are the other three book titles in the series.

Honestly, what I loved the most about these books is the innocence that is conveyed through the character’s story of who does what within their families respectively.  Each character’s way of life is what they’re accustomed to and they can’t wait to share it with their friend.  I loved that!

I highly recommend these books.  You should check them out at your local library and if they don’t have it, request it!

Take good care all!

Until next time…

Advertisements

Juvenile Chapter Books – Ivy & Bean and The Adventures of Sophie Mouse

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

I’m continuing with my book finds because it’s very dear to me. My girls and I love juvenile chapter book series and when we sit down to read a book with chapters before bedtime we usually read one or a couple of chapters every night until we’re done with the book.  This allows us time to read several other easy to read or picture books before lights out.  I strive to read up to three books per night depending on how long each book is.

The first book series that we fell in love with was on a summer reading list and we quickly found it at the library.

ivyandbean

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows + Sophie Blackall

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_and_Bean

As soon as we finished the first book of these two fun-loving and mischievous friends, we couldn’t wait to check out book #2.  The series, so far, goes up to book #10, which left my daughters baffled and in despair for book #11.

“But why isn’t there a book 11?” they asked me and I said, “Because the author probably hasn’t finished writing it. We have to be patient and find another series to read in the meantime.”

And that’s exactly what we did.

Sophie Mouse to the rescue!

SophieMouse-Jennifer-Bell

The Adventures of Sophie Mouse

by Poppy Green, Illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell

We stumbled upon this wonderful book series at the library when my youngest daughter spotted a nickname version of her own name on the front cover of the book.  They absolutely go bonkers whenever they see their names on the front cover of books.

This series is a great introduction to chapter books.  It’s completely adorable and there are beautiful black and white illustrations within the book.  The stories are endearing and the main character, Sophie Mouse, is an artist who simply loves adventures and sharing them with her dear friends, Hattie Frog and Owen Snake.  So far the series is up to book 6, but book 7 has a release date for this year so I’ll be requesting a hold on a copy at my library so my girls and I can get a chance to read it as soon as possible.  We can’t wait!

I highly recommend these books.  You should check them out at your local library and if they don’t have it, request it!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and at my daughter’s school they did something pretty cool this year.  They wanted their students to decorate and bring in a valentine holder for their valentine cards and treats.

My kindergartener and I decided to decorate an empty graze snack box (graze.com) because it was already partially decorated for Valentine’s Day (red hearts) and it was the perfect size to transform into a purse/clutch valentine holder! 🙂

We just added my daughter’s name in the front (covering the graze name) along with some 3D valentine stickers

and glued a piece of purple construction paper in the back and decorated it with a variety of stickers.

Back

I secured the box with a little bit of clear tape and made a slot, which we decorated with a fabric, flower ribbon, for the valentine cards and treats to go in.

We recycled the clear plastic backing, which you can probably see in the first 2 pics, of the glitter tape decoration that we placed around the box (not shown in the pics) for the purse strap.  I then showed my daughter how she could hold the box two ways:  as a clutch with her hand or a shoulder purse with the strap.  The giddiness that ensued after transforming that box into her valentine holder will stay with me forever. 🙂

As for my third grader, she had a vision and it involved one of her favorite cartoon characters, SpongeBob Squarepants.  She loves that little dude!

She didn’t want to do plain, old SpongeBob though.  No, she wanted to make SpongeBob in his Kuddly Krab work uniform.   This uniform is featured in the episode titled “Bossy Boots.”

We printed out some pics of SpongeBob wearing the uniform so we could easily reference it.

I also made a template of the purple flower design that’s on the uniform so my daughter could easily trace, cut, and glue the design onto the box.

The materials we used were a cereal box, construction paper (pink, yellow, purple, white, and neon green card stock paper), and pipe cleaners.  We also printed out a small spatula and a “Krabby Patty,” which we taped onto his hands.

        

From a cereal box to “Kuddly Krab SpongeBob Squarepants!”

           

Here’s the breakdown: We gift wrapped the box with pink construction paper using tape and glue.  My daughter traced a big circle out of yellow construction paper for his face and two small circles for his eyes with white paper as well as two little squares for his front teeth.  She then drew the details herself.  She used the template for the purple flower designs and we glued those down as well as his face.  The pipe cleaners were used to make the antennas, arms, legs, socks, and shoes.  She wanted to place two pink hearts on the antennas instead of the red K’s.  For his yellow hands I copy and pasted a picture of SpongeBob and cropped the pic until his hands were the only things on the screen, then printed and glued onto the pipe cleaner.  We did the image two sided so it was easier to glue.  A slot at the top of the box ensures that valentine cards and treats will go in nicely!

There you have it!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

“Just being Audrey”

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

A couple of months ago, my youngest daughter stumbled upon this book at the library and was fascinated with the front cover.

20160101_145412

“Just Being Audrey” by Margaret Cardillo, Illustrated by Julia Denos

She simply said, “She’s beautiful,” and I responded, “She sure is.”

Of course, this biography book for children made it to our checkout pile and my daughters were wonderfully introduced to Audrey Hepburn.  The illustrations inside were just as beautiful as the front cover.  What made this book even more fantastic for me was when I suggested to my youngest daughter that she should draw her own version of the front cover and her eyes immediately lit up at the idea (my oldest daughter loves to draw and my youngest loves emulating her sister, so she’s a little budding artist as well.)  The very next morning she sat down on the floor with her drawing pad, a pencil and the Audrey book.  Her concentration was fierce and it took all morning.  I gave her space and didn’t peek once.

Finally, she was ready to unveil her masterpiece.

20151214_094030 (2)

Needless to say, I was one proud mama and I couldn’t stop gushing over her drawing.  She did a great job! 🙂

A book that teaches you about a great person and has illustrations that can inspire a 5 year old to draw her own version is a definite gemstone.  Check it out at your local library and if they don’t have it, request it!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Books, books, oh glorious books!

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

One of my absolute favorite places to visit in our hometown is the library.  We officially celebrated our one year anniversary living in Pennsylvania back in November of 2015.  The library here is completely different in so many wonderful ways.  The vast hours of operation offers us an opportunity to visit as a complete family.  The children’s section of the library is spacious, it’s equipped with touch screen computers, educational toys, and hard-covered books galore.  I was so impressed and immediately fell in love with this place.

Before we leave the library, we always check out almost 40 books, which include a variety of easy to read, picture, newly published, and juvenile chapter books.  It’s become a routine to read a couple of books every night before bedtime so we need a lot of material.  My girls usually pick the books that they want and I tend to add to that pile with my picks for them.  My youngest is in Kindergarten now and she loves easy to read books.  She also loves picture books, which is why she was immediately drawn to the cover of this particular book:

“Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors” by Hena Khan, Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

She wasn’t able to read the title.  She simply saw the beautiful cover and quickly glanced inside and saw the rest of the illustrations and wanted to take it home.  When I read the title, I’m not going to lie to you, the word Muslim jumped right at me, but I had no qualms about checking the book out.  In fact, I was curious to see and read the book.  It looked interesting and it was indeed a great book with beautiful illustrations of colors in the Muslim culture.  I had no idea, until recently when I went online searching for a picture of this book to include in my blog post, that this book had a little controversy behind it.  You can google the title of this book and read the article about a father in Georgia who wasn’t happy that his daughter picked this book out at the school book fair.  Yes, everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but believe me when I say that this book is a beautifully, illustrated book about colors in the Muslim culture.  You should check it out at your local library and make your own opinion about it.  And if they don’t have it, request it!

I will be sharing more book finds with you because there are so many books in this world that need to be acknowledged and praised.  I love reading to my girls and hearing them read out loud.  I have seen great results in their reading skills from their first marking period in school to the second, which just passed about a week ago.  My third grader is currently reading at a fifth grade level and my five year old went from reading zero sight words to 59.

my daughters reading at the library

I’m going to leave you with this little tidbit regarding instructions/directions usually found at the bottom of homework assignments or school worksheets like this for example:

Instead of just reading the directions to your child and doing the problems together, teach your child to read the instructions as well and make it a habit.  Read the directions for each problem together and eventually they will learn how to read it themselves.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

It’s that time of the year…let’s dye some eggs!

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

Easter’s fast approaching and the dyeing of the eggs has come upon us.  While my girls were being distracted/entertained by the television, I quickly set up everything we needed in the kitchen.

eastereggs2014text

eastereggs20142text        eastereggs20143text

I got the PAAS Egg Decorating kit in Marble Magic.  This kit included 16 egg stands, 6 dye tablets, 2 egg dippers, 2 packets of gloss and 1 polishing fabric.  I also got the Color Cups and that came with 5 dye tablets, 1 egg dipper, and a magic crayon.

eastereggs20144text

Instead of mixing the tablets with just water, I added a tablespoon of vinegar to half a cup of water so the eggs would dye brighter in color.  I also taped down a small, white recycle garbage bag on my girls picnic table so clean up would be easier and there would be no staining on the table.

eastereggs20145text

Even though my little one was not feeling well, she still had fun, as well as my oldest.  The toothless smile says it all.  🙂

eastereggs20146text       eastereggs20147text

In order to get the marble effect you had to add a tablespoon of oil to the color mixture.  We also used the magic crayon to make designs before dunking the eggs in.  Whatever was marked with the crayon, didn’t dye with color (my youngest drew lines on the purple egg while my oldest drew circles on the pink egg).

eastereggs20148text

We used the gloss and fabric to get the glossy effect.

My oldest daughter’s favorite egg is the very first one: the purple and aqua blue marbled egg

Egg dyeing mission for 2014: Successful

Next mission: Filling up plastic eggs for the Easter egg hunt

Take good care all.

Until next time…

 

Adieu March

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

Before we bid adieu to the month of March I wanted to share some pics with you as well as an update on my daughter’s speech therapy.

The month started with my family celebrating my mother’s 62nd BIRTHDAY!  It’s so wonderful to celebrate her birthday.

Then on St. Patrick’s Day, I surprised my daughters with a green breakfast:

GREEN PANCAKES WITH SPRINKLES

IMG_6410text    IMG_6411text

I just used a little food coloring, but totally forgot that the butter was going to brown up the pancakes…oh well, the girls still loved eating green pancakes for St. Patrick’s Day!

IMG_6415text

We got our green on…say cheese!

I made several happy, yummy faces throughout the month.  Here are a few:

IMG_6423text

Made this mini bagel happy face for my youngest daughter one day and I thought the blueberry smile was genius on my part, but then she requested that smile to be turned upside down.  She actually said, “No, I want it to be sad.”

IMG_6425text

“Okayyyy??”

Whatever, she still ate it happily…she can be a conundrum sometimes.

IMG_6441text

Then on another day she asked me for a one-eyed happy face.  Okay, here’s happy cyclops.

IMG_6363text

It’s all about improvising and having fun.  She loved this silly face.

As for my ongoing quest to get my oldest daughter speech therapy in her school, it has come to a complete halt.  Why?  Well, I decided to stop wasting time with people who keep giving me the run around or pretend not to know what my case is about.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was when, let’s call her an administrator, said to me over the phone, “My hands are tied.”  She said it nonchalantly and yes, I could be wrong.  Maybe her hands are tied and she simply can’t help me, but at that moment, I lost it.  I got emotional, which I hated, but I needed her to know, no scratch that, I needed her to fully feel and understand that all I was asking for was a little help.  After that phone call was a bust, I continued my search online and finally found a great website, www.mommyspeechtherapy.com, that offers tips and ideas on how you can help your child with their speech including printables and an app (articulation station), which I got for my ipad.  We also practice enunciating our words at home and my husband makes up tongue twisters with the specific letters that our daughter has trouble pronouncing.  The tongue twisters are very helpful and we make it fun by saying silly phrases.  So far that’s what we’re doing and we’re going to continue to research and look into other ideas and I’ll keep you updated.

We ended the month celebrating my father’s 62nd BIRTHDAY and were even given a surprise, but more on that later on!  🙂  Again, it’s simply wonderful celebrating his birthday as well.

So it is with a fond farewell to the month of March.

I can’t wait to share what comes next:  april fools day, my youngest daughter’s birthday, spring cleaning, spring break, apartment egg hunting, and Easter.

Get the scrapbook paper and scissors out, Mama needs to make a Peppa Pig birthday banner!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Return of the funny faces

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

The weather outside is horrible so instead of trekking to school I kept my daughter home for today and I’m not even second guessing that decision ’cause we need a break from all this slush outside.  Since I had both girls home today, I decided to make funny faces for lunch:

IMG_6355text

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Ritz crackers, banana slices, mini chocolate chips, cherry tomatoes, a cheese stick, and raisins make up these fun faces.

Here’s hoping that the weather clears up soon.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

I’m not mad at you snow…

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

A snowy day can make you second guess whether or not you should take your child to school (in my area the school is ALWAYS open) or keep her at home (she doesn’t want to stay home, she wants to go to school),

a snowy day can make going to school on foot a little bit harder and wetter,

a snowy day can be majestic until you realize you have to shovel the walkway,

but that’s ok with me because after reaching the school safely and shoveling the snow, this is my reward:

CAM00509text      CAM00510text

Pure joy captured: my youngest tasting the snow and giggling away as the snow tickled her face

CAM00512text

She even helped me shovel the sidewalk until…

IMG_6354text

…she attacked me with huge snowballs! 🙂

I’m not mad at you snow ’cause you made my little one very happy.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Keep fueling the fire ’cause you’re only making me stronger!

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

Last week I made a phone call to my daughter’s school in order to receive an update on our case seeking speech therapy for her and guess what I received?  Nothing!  Nada!  Freaking Zilch!  So, you can imagine how angry I was and the anger kept brewing up inside of me to the point where I was in tears over the phone as I explained to my husband what they said, or in our case, didn’t say.  I didn’t know what to do with myself, but then it hit me.

Take that anger and use it as fuel.

I sat down in front of my computer and started typing away.

I started typing a lengthy letter detailing the process that we’ve been going through with no results.

I started typing about the discouraging words coming out of people who should be helping us.

I started typing about my sweet daughter who’s being punished for having good grades.

I started typing about her teachers who noticed immediately that she needs a little bit of help.

That’s all she needs, a little bit of help.

THAT’S ALL WE’RE ASKING FOR!

I started typing an SOS letter to the highest position in the school, the principal.

I printed out my letter with my contact information, signed and sealed it.  I hand delivered it, while picking up my daughter during dismissal, to the assistant principal with a message that this letter was for the principal.  Honestly, I thought I was going to get a response possibly the next day or later.  As soon as I got home, ten minutes later, I received a phone call from the principal.  I was shocked and pleased.  We spoke amicably about my letter and she assured me that she was going to look into matters, talk to all the necessary people, and find me options.  I told her options are good, for now, because nothing’s currently being done.

So, the waiting game continues…

…but, I will continue to call,

I will continue to write,

I will keep advocating for my child,

they will continue to see and hear me until I see results.

Until my child gets that little bit of help that she needs.

And for those who don’t want to help me, your discouraging words bring on a rage inside of me and I use that as fuel to surpass any social anxiety that I suffer from in order to insure that my child will get the services that she is rightfully entitled to.

Take that anger and use it as fuel.  Advocate for your child, no matter what.

My newest mantra.

Take good care all.

Until next time…