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Showing posts from 2013

Compassion: My Word for 2014

I've been thinking about the importance of compassion for awhile and the anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy this past Saturday certainly brought it to mind again. At first, I thought my word for 2014 would be "listen," but I've realized that it will be compassion, which can only be nurtured in myself and fostered in the world through listening, so the two go hand-in-hand. 

So many words and thoughts and emotions were stirred up over the weekend as people remembered the events at Newtown in their own ways. I "listened" as people shared acts of kindness done to honor the event, shared calls to action, and shared thoughts and data about continued gun violence. As I listened, I thought about grief. Right now, I find myself thinking about 367 days of grief. For surely, for the families, grief must still overcome them. I look at my own two young sons and cannot even bring myself to imagine what my life would look like, feel like, if I lost them. 

Numbers kept ci…

Building Strong Sibling Relationships Through Unsupervised Play

{Sibling Play Tips}
Sometimes it is the simplest moments that seem the most magical. 

We have a few calming, quiet and short videos that we will put on for the boys every now and then in their room in the evenings. They crowd onto one of their small mattresses together, cuddle up under a blanket and then we shut the door. What happens next is the magic -- no, it's not they are quiet and captivated by the video. It is quite the opposite. It is that I hear them babbling together -- sometimes about their show, sometimes not. The point is, they are all alone in their room, without toys even, sharing a very small and tight space together with NO fussing, fighting, pushing, or arguing. They are simply enjoying each other's company, and it always brings a smile to my face.

I love hearing them giggling together and whispering their little secrets to one another, and I love thinking that maybe, just maybe, my husband and I are doing something right! 

Our boys are just under 2 years apart …

Jolly Jell-O Christmas Sensory Tray & 70+ Holiday and Winter Sensory Play Ideas from The Kid's Co-Op

Sensory play experiences offer engaging learning opportunities for children, especially toddlers and preschoolers. For Tot School, we're focusing on a Letter of the Week approach and exploring all five senses with each letter. Instead of sharing ALL of our Letter J activities on the blog, I've been sharing some on my Facebook page and on G+. We smelled and "painted" with Jasmine tea, had a fun juice tasting experience, and listened to jets on a recent trip. For sight and touch, I'm sharing our Jumble Jars and Jolly Jell-O sensory tray today, as well as "lots and lots and lots and lots" (as Wild Thing would say) of Winter Sensory Play Ideas from the Kid's Co-Op. Enjoy and then share your favorite holiday sensory play idea with me!

I made red jell-o and put it on a tray with jewels sprinkled in for the boys to find. Underneath our clear tray was our felt letter J. The boys loved touching the squishy jell-o, especially Caterpillar (2). We also added in …

What We're Reading Now: An Animal Strike at the Zoo! {Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge + Virtual Book Club for Kids}

I loved putting together my Indie Book Gift List and sharing some fabulous gift guides recently. One of my favorite gift guides that I shared is from Stir the Wonder, who shared Experience Gifts for Kids such as museum memberships or camp experiences. These our the types of gifts our family loves. As I finally get caught up on both my Virtual Book Club for Kids post and Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge, where I share what the boys and I have been reading this past week, I realized that one of our favorite library books this week would be a great gift to give alongside a zoo membership!

Animal Strike at the Zoo (It's True!) by Karma Wilson is a book we discovered through the Virtual Book Club for Kids, which we absolutely love being a part of because we've discovered so many wonderful authors through it. 
This book is lots of fun and, as always with our VBCK books, we found ways to Move, Eat, Draw and Learn with this book. The boys loved movinglike the animals in the book, i…

A Holiday Tradition: Spreading Joy Through Random Acts of Kindness - Kindness Countdown to Christmas 2013!

Plus Fabulous Christmas Countdowns from The Kid's Co-Op
Better late than never...with 19 days left until Christmas (or until we see G'ma again, as my boys will tell you), we're finally sharing our Kindness Countdown. An important family holiday tradition for us is spreading joy through acts of kindness. Last year,  we had a Random Acts of Kindness Adventure. This year, we're doing a kindness countdown. Our family's daily act(s) of kindness bring us together and remind us of the importance of spreading joy and cheer during the holiday season, rather than focusing on wants or getting caught up in the "Gimmes," (pop over to Imagination Soup for more on limiting the gimmes). 

I came up with the acts of kindness by asking friends on Facebook, through my personal profile and The Good Long Road page, and loved the responses I got. Plus, you can see from our "Kindness Countdown Tree" that it doesn't take lots of fancy stuff to make a fun countdown tre…

{Ten for #GivingTuesday} Ten Ways to Kick Off the Season of Giving!

I have a dream that one day Giving Tuesday will eclipse Black Friday. I've shared my dream of people camping out for a cause and have revisited last year's popular Black Friday confession poem for a local newspaper. I've also (happily) discovered that others share my vision! Check out this video of families lining up to donate the $200 they saved on Black Friday to a favorite charity on Giving Tuesday. 

I hope you're inspired to join the movement. Let's spread some joy and make this holiday season truly a season of giving. I'm excited to share ten ways to get involved as a family and love that I'm sharing this as part of Kids Stuff World's inspirational blog hop: A Season of Giving: 31 Days of Spreading Joy. Enjoy my "Top 10" below and then tell me what you'll be giving.  

1. I'll be obvious with this first one: Just Give! Yep, pick a charity, go to their website, click donate and give. It's super simple. Select the charity together …

A Gift for Everyone! The Ultimate Gift Guide Round-Up With 23 Gift Guides from The Kid's Co-Op, An Indie Book List to Help You Find the Perfect, Unique Gift and a Christmas Give-A-Way!

Confession #1: Books are on the top of my list of gifts to give and receive. 

Confession #2: I'm kind of a hippie. I love supporting my local farm share. I prefer my local coffee shop to chains. I buy almost everything second-hand. I like discovering and supporting other independent artists. I'm an indie filmmaker. 

Confession #3: I bite off more than I can chew -- often...This year this combination means I decided to put together an Indie Book Gift Guide, even though I certainly didn't have the time to do so! Still, it had to be done. After all, two of my (and my sons) favorite, new children's books of 2013 were indie books: The Magic Poof and I Am Mixed
In addition to my Indie Book Gift Guide, there's 23 diverse gift guides from The Weekly Kid's Co-Op. As for the Indie Book Gift Guide, I've kept it simple with a few top picks in each category. They are either books I've read and love, books I've been eyeing for awhile or books that have been recomm…