Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A few of my favorite things

I like to share some of the awesome parenting sites that I stumble across from time to time. I'm not being paid or endorsed by any of these sites, just sharing some resources and ideas!

As always, one of my favorite sites for printable coloring and activity sheets and craft ideas for kids is Activity Village. Any holiday you could think up, there's activities geared towards it, also has holidays celebrated outside of the U.S. Everything is free. Same goes for Craft Jr. They have tons of coloring sheets. Nick Jr. has tons and tons of stuff for the characters on their channel. The boys favorite is the Yo Gabba Gabba character and land paper craft, and the Dino Dan dinosaur cards. They play with those so much, and I printed them out for free.

I found this stinking cute etsy shop Lee Marie. They have retro themed fabrics and make baby clothes with them. My personal favorite is the owl print, but my boys are a little too old for the clothes on this site. I'll keep it bookmarked for the next baby if that day comes. Speaking of owls, My Owl Barn is an awesome blog about owls. It notes when there's new owl merchandise, jewelry, pottery, and art around on the web. I love when they find the stuff from the same designers at Anthropologie but cheaper. I am in love with Anthro, but can only afford the clearance tables.

And Hello to fellow Pittsburgh blogger My Brown Eyed Baker. She features some pretty awesome recipes, and who can't love the Steelers jersey cookies?! I've tried her recipe for crockpot pot roast, and it was damn good just like Grandma used to make.

I hope you enjoy some of those sites!

February Reading List (part 2)

We're always busy, busy, busy reading, and it's not even National Reading Month yet. That starts March 2 with Dr. Seuss week. We usually read lots of Dr. Seuss that week, the kids' school will have lots of Seuss-like activities, etc. Until then, we've been somewhere around 5 books a day. The boys love reading!
We tried to do a scavenger hunt, like in the Winnie the Pooh book below, but the boys really weren't interested. We'll try again another day, they might not have wanted to at the time. We did take a kite out to the park one day, since Spring has been peeking it's wonderful head in this region, but we had no wind to carry it really high. A for effort, right?
Mom's been studying her butt off with chemistry and algebra in hopes of a Masters degree in the future. It's slow going, but it's kept me busy (and away from this blog!)
Here's a random hint for picky eaters. K will eat anything I give him usually. Trying to feed L is like pulling teeth. He'll hold out for up to 3 days for chocolate, skipping meals, but I won't give in. He'll eventually give up, and pig out at the next meal (or even the one after that). I recently read in Parenting magazine that it's ok to fib a little bit to your kids to get them to eat healthier. L is really into X-Rays, so I went with that. Getting him to eat carrots before by telling him they made him see in the dark wasn't working. I told him carrots would give him X-ray eyes. Guess what he ate for dinner. Carrots. I tried to tell him green beans would give him super powers with no luck. And using the big and strong thing, no luck. I'm gonna ride with this X-ray thing until he develops healthy eating habits on his own, or until he figures out Mom's a liar! On that note, here's our reading list!

 Cinderella 1, 2- we have 2 versions (or more) of certain books, so we've been reading them all to see which ones we like more. Boys aren't really into Cinderella...
Peter Pan (we have 2 versions, 1 is not shown)- they're sort of getting into it since they've been hearing it more and more
Pocahontas- again, boys aren't really into love stories
Stuck in the Tub- they thought this was funny
 Who Lives Here?- Has an interactive dial to guess which animal, they like playing with it
Arthur's Birthday- they really like Arthur books a lot
Snoozers- 7 short stories about bedtime, a favorite
Animals on the Farm, Baby Farm Animals- both very similar, they love these
 Pooh's Scavenger Hunt- has a good story about friendship
Bolt- L was scared of it, not sure why
It's Too Windy- easy to read, we're learning, but not crazy about it
Bathtime for Biscuit- same as above
Tootle- classic! but the boys like Thomas more
 Star Wars Adventure in Beggar's Canyon- ok, Mom's a geek, and starting them early!
I'm Glad You're My Friend- they like this a lot
Fievel's Boat Trip- didn't hold much interest
Scuffy- They kinda like it, but I've noticed they're less interested than the last time we read it
 The Saggy Baggy Elephant- they think it's silly
You Can't Take a Balloon Into The Metropolitan Museum- picture book about the adventures of a balloon and a girl in the museum, they like it
Cars- follows the movie, they LOVE it
Garfield in Space- he meets some silly Martians, they thought it was cute
A Little Flush- no plot, but the boys love the flush button that makes sound
Train Stories- 4 stories about a family on a farm and the nearby trains, L's favorite. Plus you have to find a duck on every page, which makes it great!
The Grumpy Bunny Goes West- somehow K kept interest with the length of the book, he liked it
Who Lives in the Rainforest- lift the flap baby board book, one of their first books, but they still love it
The Bear Who Didn't Like Honey- cute story about finding your own way

(not shown)
Little Golden Book ABC- an oldie but goodie, great for learning the alphabet
A Scare for Mr. Toad- teaches kids to respect what's not theirs
Little Otter's Big Journey- great story about mother and child bonding
Tarzan Goes Bananas- We have a different cover, but I think this is the same book. The boys think it's a silly story

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February Reading List + Tea Party

We've been reading several books where tea parties where involved. Having sons, you don't get to encounter tea sets as toys generally. They were a little curious about it though. I made the boys some chamomile tea and let them try it. I showed them how to steep the tea, they watched as it colored the water. Then I let them watch ice cubes melt in it to cool it down. They really enjoyed the experience. The books that involved tea are marked with a * after the title, if you want to do the same thing!

 The Sulky Vulture- A silly story about a vulture who just can't be happy with anything, it's cute!
Big Bird's Doctor Visit- it's very short, 4 pages, with pop-outs, curbs your fear about the doctor
Corduroy- classic story about a bear who goes on a journey to find his button, then is bought by a little girl who loves him
Spider-Man Web Slinging Super Hero- short at 5 pages, Spider-Man keeps the city safe from Doctor Octopus. K loves Spider-Man
Dolphin- follows a calf and his pod through staying safe, finding food, etc. Written more scientifically than I thought it would be for toddlers, but the boys liked it
Winnie the Pooh Meets Gopher- Pooh eats too much and gets stuck in Rabbit's hole, silly.
Farm Animals- This book has tons of flaps that you can lift up that have more facts about stuff. Goes through farm animals, crops, and other things like honey, down feathers, etc. They love this book
Tiny's Bath- I swear, there is a Clifford book that is exactly the same thing. But this is written easy for beginning readers
The Rainbow Fish- teaches kids to share, very cute. I like how his scales are holographic on each page
Tawny Scrawny Lion- classic! The lion's so hungry, he just wants to eat the rabbit. Good thing he doesn't!
*A Bargain For Frances- Frances has an awful friend who cheats her out of a tea set. But she gets her back. A little mature for 3 year olds, but a good lesson
Dinner at the Panda Palace- love love this book! Incorporates counting
Thomas & Friends Favourite Tales- 5 different Thomas stories, the boys are obsessed with Thomas
Peter Pan- we have 3 different versions of this book, this one isn't too bad
The Jungle Book- classic story, but my kids just can't get into it
Presto!- based of the short cartoon before the movie Wall-E. The bunny just wants his carrot! Adorable!
Sleeping Beauty- classic story, the boys couldn't get into it
The Wizard of Oz- this version varies towards the end from the original, not sure if I was a fan of it
On Top of Spaghetti- It's the song, with the sheet music and lyrics, just illustrated. K made me read it like 5 times in a row
*Alice in Wonderland- The boys love it cuz Mom loves it! Every time we get to the part with the Cheshire cat, they look for Mom's Cheshire cat tattoo. Otherwise, I don't think they'd be into it.
Count on Us- Simple counting book, they kinda like it

(not shown)
Aladdin- classic story, I think they'd get into the movie more than the book
The No-Bark Dog- a little boy has a puppy who doesn't bark, the boys were pretty interested in it
Dreams (Yo Gabba Gabba)- Simple book that goes with the song on the show, the boys love it! (no link)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Library books

While we haven't had any new craft ideas, we've been busy none the less. We have been focusing on our school work, playing with play dough, painting, coloring, etc. I know that doesn't make for a very interesting blog, but I promise some new craft ideas soon. This is a list of our recent library check outs, and our reviews on those books.

 I Spy a Lion, I Spy a Freight Train- If you're familiar with the I Spy books, these focus on finding objects in art. The boys are pretty good at these.
Lost Cat- This silly story follows the man who finds the cat, is driven crazy by it, and is desperate to find it's owner. The owner is only so happy to get his lost cat back, even though he's a wacky cat.
The Garbage Truck- the boys love when the garbage truck is here, so this book was great.
Big Trucks in Action- moveable parts in the book! That's all that's needed to keep toddlers occupied.
 Little Mouse's Big Valentine- very cute story about helping
Very Boring Alligator- we thought it was a boring book
In the Snow: Who's Been Here?- targeted for elementary age more, but it was neat. Helps you to look for signs to find different wildlife
Firefighter Frank- amazing amazing amazing. I think we have to buy our own copy! We totally practiced what to do if there's a fire. Don't forget to stop, drop and roll!
 One Mitten- There wasn't a whole lot of plot, just silliness
Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse- Compares the travels of 2 mice, but there's some realistic spider drawings that creeped the boys out (and mom!)
Quiet!- A lion does everything to keep the jungle quiet so his cub can sleep, silly and cute
Wow! Ocean!- Few words, mostly drawings of tons of different sea life. very informative
Carry Me- If you're familiar with Max and Ruby, and my boys love them, this book only featured similar characters. It wasn't written like Max and Ruby at all, it was more poetic, which doesn't hold the interest of 3 year old boys
A Tale of Two Pandas- I mostly picked this up because red pandas are cute, it was a short story about 2 pandas finding bamboo
Beaver at Long Pond- very educational about beavers
In the Pond- teaches the basics of the life cycle of a frog, and features other pond life. The boys enjoyed it.
(Not Shown) I forgot my shoes- everybody forgets something one day, makes you somewhat aware not to be so forgetful.