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{Guiding Word} Courage

The concept of a guiding word was first introduced to me by Amy of Mama Scout. It resonated with me. The first guiding word I ever selected was compassion, which I've realized it is my guiding word for life. Right now, my guiding word is (drum roll, please): 

       COURAGE
Recently, I realized that so many of the best things in my life came when I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a leap of faith, attempting something I wasn't quite sure that I could do. So, I'm drawing strength from my past as I move forward and focus on living more courageously. Lately, this meant traveling to Rwanda. I spent 2 weeks there and was away from my children/family for 18 days. (I have two kids: Wild Thing, age 8, and Caterpillar, age 6). This was the longest I've ever been away from them. 
It was both wonderful and difficult and much of my writing moving forward on the blog will be about my experience in Rwanda and poems and reflections I wrote while there doing researching for my for…
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{Back to School} Today The Teacher Changed Our Seats

Back to School with Diverse Books

We love discovering new books, especially books that include characters that reflect the diverse world in which we live. Not only does Today the Teacher Changed Our Seats feature a diverse group of students in the classroom as well as an African-American male teacher, but it is also a book that allows for learning discussions and activities around the math concept of grouping and the reality that sometimes teachers do things our children don't like (i.e. separating them from their friends or asking them to sit somewhere new). 


Since grouping is a math concept my 3 and 5 year-old aren't really familiar with, I wasn't sure if the book would engage them, but I was wrong. Wild Thing (my 5 year-old son) LOVES math, so the idea that this book was a book about math excited him. I think he also liked seeing a teacher in a book that was an African-American man, since his dad (who is African-American and Latino teaches filmmaking and digital arts two …

The Magic of Music: Bilingual Learning Through Song

Spanish Language Learning CD Review
My son, Wild Thing, has always been interested in learning Spanish and loves reading Spanish books and bilingual books with me or his father. He often asks to learn new words. 
However, Caterpillar, my other son, rarely showed an interest and would only passively listen and rarely engage when we're reading books or speaking Spanish, which is limited since I know very little Spanish. 
When we received the Whistlefritz Spanish language CD, Sabor!, however, that changed. Most of the time when we listen to it, we are in the car. 
It quickly became a favorite CD for both of the boys. They request it over and over and are even now singing along. It has been the only thing that has interested Caterpillar in learning Spanish, and now he asks me what various Spanish words in the songs mean and will ask how to say certain words in Spanish as well, something he never did before. 
I'm glad to have a Spanish language resource that engages both of my boys now …

Book Review: Crazy Horse's Vision {Native American Heritage Month Blog Hop}

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month 
Native American Heritage Month is coming up soon (in November). It offers a great opportunity to teach children about Native American history and culture. With my sons, Wild Thing and Caterpillar, I've found that children's books, cultural events and unique outings allow my children to actively engage as they begin learning about Native American history and culture. 
Recently, we've been reading Crazy Horse's Vision written by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by S.D. Nelson. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful illustrations, which look painted. I worried, though, that with 2-3 short paragraphs per page, my boys might not sit and listen as I read the entire book to them. But, they both listened intently.

Crazy Horse's Vision tells the story of Crazy Horse before he was Crazy Horse, when he was a baby and a young boy called Curly, and then as he grew up to be a man, who would, ultimately, lead his people. This time period i…

{World Space Week} This Week's Meal Plan - Inspired by Space

Celebrating World Space Week with Kids 

Wild Thing  loves space. He's known all of the planets for awhile now and often reminds me that Triton is a moon of Neptune, something I definitely did not know before he learned it through a space book or video (probably in both). So, this week, we'll be celebrating with lots of space activities (and I'll be sharing, later in the week, some of our favorite space books as well as some favorite Star Wars book for early readers since in addition to this week being World Space Week, Oct. 4-10). So, here's some space inspiration for meals and snacks this week. 

Monday

Lunch inspired by Space Boy by Leo Landry, a book shared by J Daniel 4's Mom in her Read.Explore.Learn series. Not sure my rocket sandwich will looks as good as hers, but I'll try! 
Phases of the moon snack time! Living Montessori Now shared a popular Oreo cookie version of this in her awesome moon unit, but I prefer to use apples to show the phases of the moon. Ala…

Poetry Activities for Kids: Celebrating National Poetry Day

P is for Poetry: Celebrating National Poetry Day with Kids
My boys love poems, even though they don't know it. We play lots of rhyming games and love singing songs, many of which are also poems. Many children's books we enjoy are actually poems or have poetic elements: rhyming stanzas and recurring phrases that feel like poems within the story. In honor of National Poetry Day, October 2nd, I'm sharing some activities from The Weekly Kid's Co-Op that explore and celebrate poetry as well as some of my other favorite poetry activities for kids from the blogosphere. 



We're Going On A Bear Hunt is both a book and poem and children love it. Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails shared Paper Bag Bear Puppets to go along with the poem/book and Buggy and Buddy shared a fun Bear Hunt Map Activity

Another popular children's book we love that is quite poetic is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. Joyfully Weary shared several fun activities for this book, and we had l…

Hunger Action Month: 15 Fall Recipes Inspired by No Kid Hungry

Weekly Meal Plan Inspiration: Fall Produce and Hunger Action Month


Hunger Action Month is held every year in October. Orange is the designated color for the month, so we're going to end it with orange by sharing my favorite Fall recipes featuring some amazing orange vegetables: butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. All three of these veggies are full of health benefits and kid-friendly. 


Butternut Squash Recipes:
Southwestern Butternut Squash Chili from Conveying Awareness with Jessica David (The recipe includes vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy free options and is yummy!) 
Crispy Kale Butternut Squash Bacon Pizza from The Kitchn (This is on my meal plan list this week -- Wednesday night for dinner.)
Butternut Squash Pear Soup with Chorizo and Goat Cheese from Not Just Baked (When I made this I made it in the crock pot, which worked out fine. I also didn't top it with the goat cheese or chorizo.)
Butternut Squash Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting from Gimme Some Oven (My…