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Showing posts from March, 2013

{Project 101} Weekly Library Challenge: Outdoor Play + Earth-Wise Cooking!

Last week, Project 101 focused on a favorite, new rabbit book we keep reading and re-reading, Too Tall Houses, and we shared some other favorite bunny books, just in time for Easter. Too Tall Houses also is a great book to transition you from Easter to Earth Day and April, in general, is a great month for focusing on the beauty of the Earth and celebrating all that Mother Nature provides as Spring ushers itself in here in the Northern Hemisphere and the beauty of Fall/Autumn touches the Southern. The books we share this week as part of Project 101, our weekly library challenge where I share a book that the boys have been loving from the library and a book I am reading, focus on celebrating the Earth through outdoor play and earth-wise/planet-pleasing recipes and cooking tips. 

At a local branch of the County of Los Angeles Public Library (which celebrates its 101st birthday this year, hence Project 101), a wonderful book that is a collection of poems was on display: A Stick is an Exce…

Easiest Easter Sensory Bin Ever

My five simple steps for making the easiest (and cheapest) Easter Sensory Bin ever (AKA:  Real Life Easter Sensory Bin):

Step 1: Remove any clearly identifiable St. Patrick's Day items from the St. Patrick's Day Sensory bin leaving relevant items, such as green colored pasta for grass and green and white buttons that will now represent grass or eggs. (Stash away shamrocks, etc. for next year). (If you did not have a St. Pat's Day bin, you can make colored rice like Mama Smiles does. You could also use simple paper shreds in green or pastel colors, as you like). 

Step 2: Cut up a box of Bunny Grahams or cut out bunnies from the latest issue of Country Living that your mother sent you (or draw bunnies on a piece of paper and cut them out). Add said bunnies to the Easter bin.


Step 3: When de-cluttering the craft/art drawer, take out the Easter stickers from last year which you happened to stumble upon in the nick of time and put Easter egg stickers on the bottom of the b…

{Project 101} Weekly Library Challenge + Best Bunny Books

The true challenge of Project 101, where I share 2 books each week that we are reading from the library (1 the boys are reading and 1 that I am reading), has finally hit me this week since the book I am reading this time happens to be quite long. I will probably be reading it for a few more weeks, so I will have to find some other short books to also read and share while I finish my behemoth book, but first I will share 1 of the favorites that the boys and I have been reading this week - a book that is perfect for Easter and for Earth Day and connects with my book in an interesting way too. 

Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino is a newer book published in September of last year. I discovered it through a book list at a small, independent bookstore I stumbled upon a few months back. The book looked and sounded interesting, so I added it to our library list, and Wild Thing has really been enjoying it. 

The book has a valuable message as two friends end up competing to see who can build the t…

{Kid's Co-Op} Beyond the Book: Playful Storytelling

Last night I had a great time doing one of my first Google+ On Air Hang-outs as part of the Spring Into Reading Series with Kim from The Educators' Spin On It, Jackie from Ready-Set-Read and Rebekah from The Golden Gleam. We shared some of our favorite Playful Storytelling activities and have already received comments about how informative the Hang-out was with great ideas to extend story time.You can see the full list of Spring Into Reading Hang-Outs here.



You can also watch the video on Youtube, if you prefer. I love playful storytelling and activities that extend books and the Hang-Out explained why these activities are so important for nurturing early readers through the way they build vocabulary, oral language skills and so much more. (Not to mention how fun it can be!) So, I am sharing some fun Playful Storytelling ideas from the Kids Co-Op last week too! First, I also thought I would give you a peek at our recycled storytelling props for the Itsy Bitsy Spider that we made f…

{Project 101} Weekly Library Challenge: Circus Animals, Boats, Family & Maine!

If you have been following Project 101, you know that often there is some connection between the book I share that the boys have been reading and the book that I have been reading, this week is no different. The connection this week is Maine -- one of my favorite states, not only because of the natural beauty in the state, but also because some of my favorite people/friends live there too!  

For the boys, the library book I am highlighting this week is another book they love to read over and over and that we keep rechecking from the library: The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. This fun rhyming book tells the story of a circus ship that crashes off the coast of Maine and the Isle that the animals make their way to after the wreck. The animals and islanders end up discovering they love sharing their Maine Isle together -- and ultimately they join together to protect the animals from the Circus Master who comes to find them. There are fun I Spy elements to the book, and it is gre…

{Kid's Co-Op} Rainbow Activities for Kids + Color Learning (in 2 languages!)

Through the posts I am featuring, you will find over 100 rainbow activities here! Wild Thing and I are enjoying helping Caterpillar (19 months) learn his colors. Wild Thing (3) thinks it is so fun that he can help his brother to learn - and we are both enjoying coming up with fun ways for him to engage with different colors and reinforce his association. At the same time, it offers me with an opportunity to help Wild Thing learn the Spanish words for the colors, which is something I originally introduced to him through the great Rebecca Emberley book My Colors Mis Colores - a simple bilingual book that has really worked well for us.

In addition to sharing some of the color activities we have been doing, I am also highlighting the fun rainbow crafts, activities and snacks highlighted last week through the Kid's Co-Op. With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner and Spring on its way for many of us, it is the perfect time for rainbow fun -- and I love that rainbows…

{Kids Get Arty} Inspired by Inocente

Kids Get Arty, a bi-monthly challenge from Red Ted Art to explore real artists, is something I look forward to every two months as it challenges me to really engage my boys in art and to help them learn about artists in a fun, hands-on way. 

As an independent filmmaker whose latest film, Smuggled, is an award-winning fictional/narrative film that tells the story of a mother and son who are being smuggled into the U.S. in a hidden compartment beneath a tour bus, the Academy Award winning short film Inocente naturally caught my attention as, at the time the film was made, Inocente (the subject of the film) was an undocumented homeless teenager in San Diego, who happens to also be a very talented artist. 

I watched the film at mtv.com and quickly understood why the film won the Oscar. Not only is Inocente a powerful, compelling, engaging subject but the filmmakers do her story justice. Her story will pull at your heart as will her art. So, this month for Kids Get Arty, I decided to do a la…

Four Simple Family Breakfast Ideas - Simple Family Dinner Blog Hop

Stuck in a breakfast or dinner rut? We do our fair share of cereal or bagel/English muffin + cream cheese mornings (Wild Thing calls it bagel and snow), but I also really enjoy making breakfast with Wild Thing and have found that having breakfast for dinner is a great way to shake up a dinner rut. (I know I am not the only one). So, when I decided join in with about 30 other blogs for the Simple Family Dinners Blog Hop, I was pretty sure I would end up sharing my favorite simple breakfast ideas -- all of which are fun to have the kids help you to make and many of which can do double duty as either a nice dinner alternative or snack/lunch box items. Plus, they all are made with real ingredients and can be tailored to different dietary needs rather easily - my favorite (actually the favorite of the entire family) is gluten free. So, I hope we inspire you to hop in the kitchen with your kids and get cooking!   

First things first, French Toast -- ours has a bit of twist and is so moist an…