Wednesday, June 15, 2011

History Starts With Me!

Where does history start when you're 2? It starts with YOU! In fact everything starts with you! Children can not think outside themselves for the first few years of life! They say "I love you!" because it makes you happy and that makes them happy, but even that ties back to them.

So if you want to start learning history now... here's an easy cheap and entertaining idea...

Make Flash Cards with pictures of them from all ages since birth and say "who is this" at first they may not believe you, but learning how different they are will help recognize patterns in time... weird eh? It's so cool to watch kids start understanding concepts way beyond their age!

Things a 2-3 year old can easily learn about history:
- What's mom's "other" name?
- What's dad's "other" name? (by saying "other" you let them know you still want to be called mom/dad, but that people can be known by more then one thing... another interesting concept for little ones.)
- What is my name? What is your name?
- How old are you?
- What is grandma/grandpa's "other" name(s)?

That simple knowledge can turn into so many more advanced question! But history as everything else... starts with me.

Friday, June 3, 2011

101 Best Books To Read WITH Your Kids - Part 1

#1 - Llama Llama Red Pajama
What a cute tale about the little Llama who has a hard time sleeping. This book actually helped my 2 year old feel comfortable going to bed by herself. She knew that even though mama can be busy she's always near. My 2 year old now recites that when I call "just one second".

#2 - M is for Monster
A Monster's Inc. Book! This is so cute! My girls giggle while we read it. You can find it online at Disney Digital Books, or pick it up in stores.

#3 - We're In A Book
An Elephant and Piggie Book! These books are absolutely fabulous for beginning readers! The same words are shown over and over, and there are very few words per page. The girls laugh and laugh at the stories (I can't help but to giggle myself), and even grandma Anita laughs when she reads them. The entire series is fantastic but this one really makes Evie laugh.

#4 - Children Make Terrible Pets
What a cute story about a bear who finds a little boy and tries to take care of him as a pet. Children really do make terrible pets. Although my older daughter took it as a wonderful bedtime story, it nearly made me cry. I feel just like that poor bear every time I realize that my babies area already growing up!

#5 - When You're Happy
The last page of this story is framed and hanging on my girls wall. What a beautiful illustration to be yourself, and to be HAPPY!!! When you're happy do you're thing :)

#6 - Pete & Pickles
A beautiful, funny, intelligent story, that is completely made by the illustrations. The illustrations in this story are so detailed and beautiful that I want to frame them! Not to mention the story is wonderful! Go outside of your routine and imagine a little!

#7 - Splat The Cat
If you haven't read this adorable story Splat who goes to school on his first day with his pet mouse hidden in his lunch box.... well you really should. It will open your eye's to thinking about your role in life in a whole new way!

#8 - The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear
This book is so adorable that after we read all about that red ripe strawberry we had to make a trip to the super market to find a basket of strawberries! Evie described to me how she just LOVED strawberries and she'd share half with me! Why half? You'll have to read the book to find out!

#9 - The Hiccupotamus
Try reading this one out-loud a few times before you attempt to read it to your kids! I think I read it about 6 times before I finally managed to untwist my tongue and get it out. After your tongue untangles you'll fall in love with the quirky hiccups this hippopotamus gets.

#10 - Thomas' Snowsuit
By the time the Thomas gets back into his snowsuit you'll be needing tissues for the kiddos. This book wasn't just fun for our younger girls, their uncles and aunts nearly fell off the couch in roaring laughter. Any parent who has EVER tried to get a child into a jacket or coat they didn't currently want to be in... will enjoy this comfort book.

#11 - Good Families Don't
If you thought your family was from outer space because of the dinner topics they've selected - from time to time - then you need to grab this book and make yourself feel better. Our 2.5 year old got the humor, so did her father. I on the other hand am going to completely deny any laughter or amusement obtained from this book, okay maybe a little amusement.

#12 - I Was So Mad
I don't know anyone who has kids who doesn't need to see this book from a child's prospective. After all it is completely unfair when you can't keep frogs in the bathtub! (Part of the Little Critter Series) 

#13 - Just Go To Bed 
This is another one of the Little Critter Series that's a must have for every home. After a busy day of being a race car driver, a space cadet, and a train engineer, it's just hard to go to bed... even if you are really tired. 

#14 - Pirate's Don't Change Diapers 
Not everyone is thrilled with the little messes as spills, and stinky diapers! Pirate for one do not change diapers, if you want to live on this ship you'll have to change your own! *Also How I Became A Pirate From the same Author Melinda Long* Full of giggles with a sweet surprise check it out! 

#15 - Where The Wild Things Are
You've probably been told to go get this book about 12 times now... and honestly I think the hype was somewhat over rated. It just wasn't my favorite book. My girls and husband on the other hand... have all the stuffed animals, and read it regularly! It is cute, follow your imagination no matter where it goes. 

#16 - Puff The Magic Dragon
This book is an illustrated story of the song sung by Peter Paul and Marry. I liked the song and loved the book. Look for the special addition to go on sale if you are going to buy it as the special addition comes with a CD of the original song. 

#17 - Llama Llama Misses Momma 
Little llama goes to school for the first time, and nothing seems fun with out momma around. Luckily little llama learns it's okay to miss your momma and he realizes he can like school and still love his mother! The illustrations are priceless and my 2 year old has this story memorized. Not only does it help her when she's being babysat but going to her first gymnastics class alone was a big step (don't worry we were right outside watching though the glass, what a big girl she is getting to be). 

#18 - Llama Llama Holiday Drama 
I just want to quote this one line, it sums how how I feel about this entire holiday story: "Sometimes we should take a rest/ and hold the ones we love the best." if you need a feel good book for overwhelming moments in life during the holidays or anytime curl up with Anne Dewdney's Llama Llama books. 

#19 - I've Got Duck Feet By: Dr. Seuss
My girls and I all giggled as we imagined having Duck Feet! And, then antlers, and then an elephant trunk. I'm actually doing an entire entry of things kids can learn from this one book.  So after you're done giggling get out your craft box and get ready for a zoo in your front room!

#20 - Strega Nona
What happens when you don't listen? Well you may just fill the entire town with noodles! Be careful around the magic pot and don't turn it on! Stega Nona was a childhood favorite of mine and I am so happy to see my girls enjoying it too. 

There is the first entry of 101 best books to read with your kids!  What are your favorite books to read with your kids? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making Flowers for Hair Bands, Dresses, Mother's Day & More!

You know all those cute flowers you see in little girl's hair? Sewn onto prom dresses, and attached to candles etc? These flowers not only make cute decorations for a variety of items, but they are also a very interactive way to do color drills with toddlers! After getting all the pieces gathered up my 2 year old would sign and say which colors she wanted layered next. When they were all done she'd sign all the colors in each flower. Great way to get them to WANT to practice signing and colors. Also a creative way to introduce flower types, and a fun art project all rolled into one! Here's how to make them. 

Step #1: Take Ordinary Flowers From Your Dollar Store or Craft Store
 (Even Wal-Mart, and Target Carry These)
I used a 40% off coupon at Michaels, and then bought 3 other bunches that were on sale. 

Step #2: Slip The Flower Heads Off The Stems. 
Most Flower Heads Are Just Loosely Put On The Stems. 

Step #3: Pull the Back "stopper" Off. 

Step #4: Once The Stopper Is Pulled 
Off The Petals Will Easily Fall Off. 

Step #5: The Middle Piece Will Pull Right Out 
Once The Back Stopper Has Been Removed. 

Step #6: Separate All The Pieces and Petals

(Example of what you should have) 

Make Sure You Have Rhinestones or Other Center
Pieces For Your Finished Flowers. The 
Original Center pieces will work if you cut the 
"stem" off of the. 

Step #7: Pick Out Various Petals To Re-assemble. 

Step #8: Start With What Will Be The Bottom 
Petal and Glue The Centers of Each Petal 
On Top of the Next One. 

Step #9: Layer Each Petal As Desired

Step #10: Add A Rhinestone Or Trim The Original 
Center Piece to Finish the Flowers. 

You Can Use The Flowers For A Huge Variety of Projects Such As: 
- Hair Bows
- Candle Decorating
- Skirts and Dresses
- Wreaths 
- Do them to match holidays for cute table decorations 
(IE: red, white and blue for Memorial Day Dinners)

If you want some cute ideas to brows though check out the numerous collections that appear on Totsy

Totsy is one of my favorite website for purchasing and idea shopping!