Saturday, February 26, 2011

What My Child is Reading

One of J's favorite activities is reading books and I absolutely love cuddling him on my lap and reading. I like to link up to What My Child Is Reading blog link-up. Not only is it a great way to record the wonderful books we've read, but I've found so many new good book ideas by visiting each week. Click on the button below to see what others have been reading!

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae
This is a cute little story and the title explains it well. There is a giraffe who just loves to dance, but he is very uncoordinated. His legs are always buckling when he tries to run around. He felt very left out as he watched all the other jungle animals dancing at the Jungle Dance and the others just made fun of him. On his way home, he met a cute little cricket who encouraged him that being different is OK. With the cricket's help, he was able to find his own music to dance to by listening to the swaying grass and branches blowing in the breeze. All the animals came by to watch and were amazed at his wonderful dancing. Gerald was just happy that he was really and truly dancing. (We also found this at our library and watched it on DVD, in the Scholastic Series.)

If Peas Could Taste Like Candy and other Funny Poems for Kids by Crystal Bowman
I can't remember how I came across this, but I'm so glad I found it! The Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns blog has encouraged me to look into poetry for J but I just didn't know what would appeal to him. These poems are so fun. They have great rhyming and rhythm and they also come from Zondervan so many of the poems are related to God and faith. We read a few of these before his afternoon nap.

It's Fun to Share by Michael Anthony Steele, a Zonderkidz book
We love Boz! He's a big green bear with blue eyes created by Zonderkidz the makers of the NIV bible. We like the books and DVDs too. They teach wonderful lessons and J loves them. This one for sharing is something we get from the library every couple months since this is such a hard thing for kids to learn. They share cookies, a ball, learn to take turns and even share a story.

Little David's Big Heart by Crystal Bowman
This is the author of the funny poems. It is a rendition of the story of David told by mice! The illustrations are just wonderful and the story is great. Little David mouse learns that he will become king and his brothers are jealous. David's response was to get some food that he shared with his brothers. He does other brave things and we see his lovely heart. He is kind and helpful and will make a great king.

Olivia Acts Out by Jodie Shepherd
We found Olivia when we visited at my sister's and watched NickJr (we don't have cable at home). We saw this on DVD first, and then I found they had the book. This is about Olivia wanting the lead role in a play and ending up being "cow number 2". It is very humbling for her and she doesn't take it very well. J and I were able to talk about what to do when you don't get what you want; good ways to respond and not so good ways to respond.

Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobbie
Toot and Puddle are two cute little pigs who live in Woodcock Pocket. J found Toot and Puddle when we spent some time on Nick Jr on the computer. They have videos you can watch online and he really enjoyed this so we found the book. In this story, Toot wants to travel the world while Puddle prefers to stay around home. The story is told through Toot's postcards he sends to Puddles from his travels. I had fun reading the postcards with the accent from that country. Then they have a fun reunion at the end when Toot returns.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
I first found this on You Tube after we heard the story (via Ipod) acted out at library story time. The rhythm is so catchy J and I kept singing it. I checked out the book and we have a lot of fun reading it. It gets a teeny bit scary for J when they find the bear in the cave at the end of the book and run home. But he always asks to hear it again. Here's the link to the version we heard at our library: We're Going on a Bear Hunt

What's In the Egg Little Pip? by Karma Wilson
This was a book we got after seeing it reviewed on the Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns reading linkup. We love any book that has penguins in it and this one was cute too. It's about Pip, a baby penguin and her family as they have an egg to take care of and await a new arrival. Pip is feeling left out and isn't convinced they need the egg until the egg hatches and she falls in love with her little brother.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Where to Go From Here (conclusion)

The Answer to My Question:

So....I've been able to get a much better handle on blogging in a way that frees me up. The main idea is the need to slow down; to not have the feeling of being so rushed or putting pressure on myself about blogging.

For my piece of mind I put together a new and lighter blogging schedule.

Sundays: My "Tot School/We Play" post linking up to 1+1+1=1
Tuesdays: My Tiny Talk Tuesday post and link up Sunday's post to We Play
Saturdays: My "What We Are Reading" post and link up to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns

Wednesdays: Once a month do "Wordless Wednesday" post at Internet Cafe
Fridays: Once a month will do "Daddy Time Friday" post and link up to My Tot Learning Time

I am back to enjoying blogging. I'm not sweating it that I shared a bit about a marriage post I was working on and it hasn't been finished yet. It'll come. I'm allowing for more rest in my life and taking it slow to SAVOR these moments of life the Lord has given.

Picture credits: Microsoft clip art (royalty free)

Daddy Time Friday

There is a fun blog hop I'm joining up to created by a fellow blogger and Tot School mom, Patricia. Come join in the fun over at My Tot Learning Time where we get to thank our hubbies and share a little of what daddy is doing with our kids each week.

I really enjoy this linkup. I find that often I'm not making memories with pictures when daddy is spending time with J. Often, I'm letting them have "alone time" and I'm doing something else. This link up has helped me to focus on capturing some of these neat moments daddy has in spending time with J. I will be doing this once a month, since I'm reducing my blog time a bit.

J and Daddy doing horsey-back rides

Daddy and J playing some soccer (most pictures were of J)

Daddy making J laugh during a low-key dinner

Daddy and I both love making J laugh. This was hysterical. Daddy would say something funny and J would do this incredibly funny laugh. They went back and forth and none of us could stop laughing.

Here is a cute video I got of J and daddy playing ball:

Thank you daddy, for working so hard all week and yet still making time for precious moments with your family. We Love You!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tiny Talk Tuesday

**J is 33 months old today!**

Tiny Talk Tuesday is a way to share the fun and interesting things our kids are saying. I love joining up for this blog carnival at Not Before 7. Click her button above to see what kind of Tiny Talk has been overhead in the homes of others!

One afternoon, I was telling J it was his friend Jackson's birthday. We talked about that for a little bit and then J says to me, "Tell me my story, mommy." I said, "I'm not sure what you mean." He then repeats it a bit more insistently saying "Tell me my stoooooorrrry mommy!!!" So I told him the story of how God created him, how he grew in mommy's tummy; and that he was born and grew from a little tiny baby (only 6 pounds) to a big 25-pound almost 3-year-old. He loved the part where I told how he came out of mommy's tummy with a loud crying and strong lungs and how we stayed in the hospital for a few days and he learned how to nurse. It was sweet sharing this with him.

We found the book Pocket for Corduroy and at the end of the book, the little girl nuzzles noses with her teddy bear. It was the next day that J comes running up to me all excited and says, "Mommy, let's nuzzle noses!" I didn't understand at first what he meant until he told me "like Corduroy" so I leaned over and got the sweetest little nuzzling from J. He asks to do this now and again and it just melts my heart every time.

We are reading a chapter book (our first one) by Beverly Cleary called The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I wasn't sure if J would be able to follow along, but I've been surprised by how much he enjoys it. I notice without many pictures, he's engaging his imagination more and stops my reading to add his input and thoughts. In one part of the story, the mouse is trapped under a glass in the hotel room where he lives. He is being watched by two teachers who are enthralled by him. Ralph is not happy because he doesn't know what they will do with him. J said, "Mommy, you and daddy would go into the hotel room and get the glass off of Ralph and save him!"

One day while drinking from his sippy cup, the cup made a funny squeaking noise. J says, "It sounds like an elephant in my cup mommy!"

One day I was looking at J and he had an odd expression on his face. He was looking a bit frustrated. A couple days before he had a surgical procedure with medicine that had him a little constipated. I asked, "Are you pooping?" He said, "No, it's just a little toot."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We Love to Learn Through Play and Tot School

I love being a stay-at-home mom and feel so blessed to do so. I also love taking pictures of all the things we are doing. Instead of doing separate Tot School and Play-Time posts, I decided to combine them since it's all part of learning. Some of our time is geared toward open creative play, and some of our time is geared toward intentional learning activities. All of it is about having fun while learning.

Tot School
**J is 32 months old**

Come over to play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up:

We Play
**J is 32 months old**

Calling Daddy on J's Phone

Lately, J has been grabbing his play phone and "calling" daddy at work. It is great how he does this now. Instead of missing him, he is having pretend conversations where he is keeping dad up-to-date on all the things we're doing. He'll often hand the phone to me and say, "Say hi to daddy, mommy!" so I get to "talk" too.

More Pretend Play

J loves putting on his construction or fireman's hat and getting into character. He'll take his tools with him around the house "fixing" things.

Coloring with Markers (and playing fireman)

J continues to love to color and lately, he's wanting to use markers all the time. We're still working on putting the lids back on. He had his fire helmet on this day and I was able to capture
a neat video as he's creating stories while he's coloring.

Using Kids Chop Sticks as Tongs for Pom Poms

I finally found some great tongs for J to use. This time, we practiced using them to transfer pom poms to the egg carton. He did pretty well despite the fact this was even a little challenging for mom!

Kids Time at the YMCA

We like going to the YMCA for Friday family fun night. They have a giant blow up/inflatable with a huge slide that was donated by a local company. J has made friends with the cutest 6-year-old girl and they love chasing a ball around together. This time, she convinced J to go in the inflatable, but he's not tall enough to go alone so mommy took him. He loved this so much that he wanted to go nonstop for the next half hour until they closed it down. Mommy got her exercise too, but unfortunately no pictures of the inflatable.

Outside Play & Exercise Time in the Puddles

We have had some really warm weather this week (in the 40's) so a lot of our snow from the blizzard last month was melting. We took advantage of some really sunny days to go outside and play. I put J's boots on and he had so much fun stomping around in the puddles.

Playing with Cousin Henry

J loves his cousin Henry. He's about 1 year older than J. After he had a sleep over with him in January, he calls him his "best cousin". Out of the blue this week he said to me, "Mommy, Henry is my best cousin!" He said he really wanted to play with him and I was explaining they live far away (a few hours) but hopefully we could see them soon. It turns out my sister was coming through town and two days after this request, they stopped over and J got his wish to play. They had a ball running around outside in the puddles. Henry loved pushing J in his car and then they sat in the chair together to have a snack. They are so cute together.


I have no idea where I first learned of Gigglebellies, but we just love them. The colors are incredible, the songs are so much fun and we love singing them and watching together. We find the videos on YouTube (click links below).

Wheels on the Bus

Dr. J and His Patients

J likes pretending to be a doctor with his new doctor's kit. He was checking my reflexes and I got the idea he could have his own patients. We got out several of his stuffed animals. In the first picture, he wanted to give them some lemonade. (What a nice doctor!) Then he was going one by one and checking their reflexes. After that, he gave each one some medicine.

Blocks on Wheels

I realized J is really into building things lately. Other than jumbo Duplos, we don't own any blocks so I got Melissa and Doug Unit Blocks on Wheels this week. Immediately out of the box, J was building towers, making "blue food" taking the blue blocks and setting them on his little plates. Later he was taking his little people and animals for a ride on the cart (didn't get a picture of that).

J loves lining up and stacking his toys

I just love finding toys that J has stacked up or lined up. These were on the stairs, some little people animals he put on a play cutting board.

One afternoon, I was breaking down a box we got when J stopped me saying, "Mommy, I want to play in it!" I put it in the living room and we brought over his Little People and a few little animals. Then he wanted a blanket to keep them all warm and some goldfish so he could feed them. He had tons of fun playing in this for a couple hours. He called it his "desert cave".

Hanging out in the "desert cave" watching Veggie Tales "Lord of the Beans"

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Where To Go From Here?

Just doing a little thinking out loud .... before I spend some time thinking and praying before the Lord. I was moved by a friend I've met through blogging who is seriously thinking about stepping away from her blog permanently, or for such a time as this. Lately, I'm wondering if a blog hiatus is something the Lord's impressing upon my heart.

A little over a year ago, I started off having a journaling blog where I was recording the events of my days as a stay-at-home mom. Then mainly for reasons that it was hard to keep up with, I opened up my blog to random posts to see where it would go from there. This was going fine and I had a lot of fun as I found several new blogs that had weekly link ups. I ended up finding several that I began to participate in and my weekly posts now consist mostly of those. It is starting to feel a bit hard to keep up with all of them. Mainly, I have found it hard to get back to doing some personal posts and those have always been something I want to keep doing as it has been such good times of personal reflection for me. It is in those posts that I am taking time to reflect on what the Lord has been showing me and then sharing about it.

Just to help me get a handle on where I'm at with blogging, I made a little list of what I'm trying to keep up with on a weekly basis.

Monday: Nothing scheduled

Tuesday: Tiny Talk Tuesdays link-up

Wednesday: Nothing scheduled but would love to participate in Wordless Wednesday at Internet Cafe.

Thursday: Nothing scheduled

Friday: We Like to Play and Tot School post where I link up to Weekly Wrap Up, We Play, Show & Tell, Play Academy and Monkey Doodles
Also on Friday: Daddy Time Friday

Saturday: What we are reading where I link up to Kid Konnection, Little Sprout Books and Mouse Grows/Mouse Learns

Sunday: (do linking up at Tot School)

With all the link-ups, I always try to visit several different blogs and share a comment. I have also tried very hard to visit the blogs that are new visitors to mine and sharing something as well. Over time, I have grown a collection of my favorite blogs where I make a point to follow regularly and share on them as well. After getting this all in front of me on paper, I know in my heart something does need to change. I really want to avoid feeling burned out which I have a bit lately. I also don't like that I've not left much time (or energy) for my personal posts...especially because those are the posts that I like to take more time with. (For those of you following, you'll know I haven't posted my "marriage post" yet which has been percolating inside of me for weeks now.)

All this to say......I am not sure where I'm heading next but after this week I hope to know more.

What We Are Reading

One of J's favorite activities is reading books and I absolutely love cuddling him on my lap and reading. I like to link up to What My Child Is Reading blog link-up. Not only is it a great way to record the wonderful books we've read, but I've found so many new good book ideas by visiting each week. Click on the button below to see what others have been reading!

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
I really am enjoying this author, Karma Wilson. She has such wholesome, godly books. The Bear series are really fun and we enjoyed this one too. In the middle of a cold winter night, several little animals come to the bear's cave to keep warm. They end up having a fun, little party and bear is sleeping the whole time while all the noise is going on. They end up waking him up and he's a very grumpy bear, until they include him in the fun. I love the great illustrations too.

Duck, Duck, Goose by Tad Hills
Duck and Goose are best friends. One day, duck brings a new friend over to play who he is really taken with. He just loves and admires this new duck. But this duck seems a bit pompous bragging all the time about all she can do. This really wears on goose and eventually he goes off to play by himself. By the end, duck realizes life without goose isn't as fun so he goes searching him out. They end up figuring out a way to conveniently get out of playing with the other duck and are back to enjoying their old friendship again. Although this wasn't my favorite book, J asked for it over and over again. I did like the pictures, just wasn't as excited about the story.

Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer
This week we have our first trip to the dentist so we've been preparing with some books. We really liked this Mercer Mayer one. They are always fun and enjoyable and it's great that it's helping J to know what to expect like a thorough exam of the teeth, cleaning, even getting X-rays. The part we liked the most was when he entered the exam room, it reminded him of a space ship. We always have fun in these books trying to find the critter's little frog and spider friend. They show up on just about every page, and we have to sometimes search a bit to locate them.

Our First Chapter Book:
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
I got this idea from someone who posted on the link-up in the past. They were reading a chapter book to their little one and it was from Beverly Cleary's mouse series. I had found the videos for J and he absolutely loves them. I had no idea if he was ready for a chapter book, but I gave it a try. We started with the first in the mouse series and to my joy, J is really loving it. We have been doing a chapter most nights and it is really bringing out J's creativity. Since there aren't many pictures to look at, J is really getting into the story action by having an ongoing stream of thoughts as we read.

A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman
We got our first Corduroy book about a month ago and have found that J really enjoys them. The stories are about a little girl and the teddy bear that she loves. In this book, they take a trip to the laundromat and Corduroy ends up getting lost and left behind. They have a lovely reunion and in the end they "nuzzle noses". J came up to me several times after reading this saying, "Let's nuzzle noses mommy!" And he'd proceed to push his little nose into my face and we'd nuzzle back and forth. Just adorable!

Snow Wonder by Charles Ghigna
This book does a good job of highlighting all the joys of snow and winter including sledding, snow angels, building snowmen, having hot chocolate and ice skating. All things that I love about winter and want to share with my son! I usually have good luck with the Step Into Reading books like this one as the stories are fun and the pictures are great.

Snug as a Bug? by Amy Imbody
I recently found Zonderkidz books through Amazon. Now I just do an Amazon search, put the book I like in my library search box online and I've been amazed how many of those books I can find in our library. This was one of them. It is a sweet little book about a boy who imagines going to bed like all different kinds of animals and critters (like sleeping in the mud like a frog). It ends with him wanting to sleep in his own little bed, and his mom thanking God for him. It also has a sweet little note for moms at the back of the book that touched my heart. It was a nice encouragement about the impact we make on the world around us as we shepherd our kids.

Sweet Dreams Lullaby by Betsy Snyder
Again, we found a lovely bedtime book. This actually came from the blog host at Mouse Reads, Mouse Grows. As this little bunny is preparing for bed, the books tells in a neat, rhyming way about all kinds of creatures prepare for the night. What's really neat is how the colors of the pages change like the way the sun sets getting darker and darker hues. Sweet little bedtime book.

Thanks for visiting!