Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The flu is here! Ugh!



 

What a week last week was! Gianna got sick with the Creepy Cold Crud (or maybe it was the flu???) and then Thursday night I started getting sick with it and then Stephanie her mom got it. That means for nearly a week we were fighting body aches, headaches, dripping runny nose, fever and just feeling awful all over!

This was one of the worst illnesses I've had in about 5 years. I've had Type A flu before and this felt just like that. Unfortunately without insurance I cannot afford to get Tamiflu and at this point I'm thinking it was the FLU and not a simple cold. I got over it much faster than I do a cold.

Anyway, I contacted a friend who gets respiratory infections - colds, pneumonia, asthma, etc on a regular basis every summer and she has SWORN by this combination to help her get better faster. It's a combination of LOCAL honey and Essential Oils. I thought I would give it a try.

I am not a doctor or even a nurse - just someone who tried this on myself and it seemed to ease the symptoms. I'm still fighting the runny nose but other than that I'm feeling much much better! I thought I'd share my experience.


Here's what you need:
1 Tb Local Honey
1/4 cup HOT water (no need to boil it)
1 drop Lemon Essential Oil
1 drop Shield Essential Oil

Drink it up. If you are not comfortable ingesting EO's feel free to drop 1 drop of Lemon & Shield - or do Shield in your diffuser and inhale it. I did it about 4-5 times a day and my friend Gail does it 2-6 times a day.

Shield Essential Oil is a healing oil which is a blend of six different therapeutic grade essential oils, including cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and frankincense. You can learn more about & purchase Shield HERE & Product Information (PDF) HERE.

Lemon Essential Oil has a fresh clean scent and can be used for skin care, respiratory health and a host of other important uses. Learn more about & purchase Lemon HERE & Product Information (PDF) HERE. I use Lemon a lot for cleaning and scrubbing things like my counters & the shower. 



Age Suggestions:
6 months up: At night and around Gianna I only used Lavender & Tea Tree.
6 years up: Use the Lemon & Shield in the Diffuser (anyone 6+) & give them a Tablespoon of Local Honey only (kids).
Adult: Use the Lemon & Shield to ingest

Update - Friday was by far the worst day last week and I think I took 4 doses of the above mixture & Saturday I didn't take any although I did need to sleep in the afternoon. By Sunday I felt MUCH better than I had since Wednesday. 


Image result for simply aroma images
(before taxes)

Disclaimer: This post is based on personal experience & is NOT a sponsored post. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. Thanks!
SoMe2
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Yell and Shout Cry and Pout



Yell and Shout Cry and Pout banner

Yell and Shout 2Yell and Shout Cry and Pout
A Kid's Guide to Feelings
by Peggy Krugertietz, Ph.D
ISBN: 9781480027862
$ 12.49 (paperback)
$  0.00 (kindle unlimited)

About the book:

Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid's Guide to Feelings is an essential guidebook for adults in steering children through the confusing behaviors that emotions evoke. When you understand the purpose of emotions, behavior becomes understandable. Each of the 8 emotions is clearly defined through vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort. Emotions are not to be shunned, but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.

My thoughts:

This is a very interesting book covering 8 emotions that all kids feel at one time or another. I've been reading it with my daycare kiddos and it caught their attention & they actually discussed the emotion we were reading about as we read. It was really interesting that they connected to it so fast!

Working in a daycare atmosphere on a daily basis opens up the possibility that I will be working with kids of all types. They have issues with ADHD, SPD, Autism as well as issues we ALL have such as Short Fuses (Anger), Frustration, Fear, Shame, Sadness, Happiness, Love, Disgust & Surprise. Emotions are a tough thing to talk about and even tougher to teach kids how to handle them wisely whether it's their problem or one of their peers.

Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout covers each emotion in a 4 page section - you can use them during a quiet time to open discussion such as "what makes me angry" and "what can I do to calm down if I'm feeling _____?" Each emotion opens with a quick little story that helps to visualize a feeling that your child might be feeling. Page 3 covers what that emotion looks like and page 4 explains WHY we feel that way "What made you angry?".

I was really surprised how my kiddos connected with this book. The hand drawn pictures didn't really draw me in but they were detailed enough to help the kids visualize the subject. The verbiage is simple and direct enough for the kids to understand and I loved how each emotion is covered in a short and simple way. It's not drawn out and fits the moment when you need it. I read these to kids during transition moments when everyone was calm and I did not stop the kids from discussing it as I read. I think it made more of a teachable moment instead of a long drawn out discussion.

You can purchase this book on Amazon right now. The Kindle Unlimited version is FREE right now and the paperback which would be ideal for teachers to use in the classroom is $12.49. You can learn more about the book @ http://peggykrugertietz.com/ or on Facebook, Twitter or on her BLOG.

Meet the author:
Peggy Kruger TietzDr. Peggy Kruger Tietz is a licensed psychologist and maintains a private practice in Austin, Texas. She sees a wide range of children with normal developmental problems as well as children who have experienced trauma. Her Ph.D is in developmental psychology from Bryn Mawr College. Before entering private practice Dr. Tietz treated children in multiple settings, such as family service agencies and foster care. Dr. Tietz, trained at the Family Institute of Philadelphia, and then taught there. She specializes in seeing children individually, as well as with their families. She has advanced training in Play Therapy as well as being a certified practitioner of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, for children and adults). She has conducted workshops on parenting, sibling relationships and emotional literacy.

Disclaimer" I received this book in exchange for my honest review through the Pump Up Your Book program. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Octavia & Her Purple Ink Cloud



bookpage.php?id=OctaviaOctavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud
by Fran Hawk
ISBN: 978-1607185864
$14.64 (hardback)
$9.95 (paperback)
Spanish copy & Teacher's Guides (Here)

About the book:
Octavia Octopus and her sea-animal friends love playing camouflage games to practice how they would hide from a “big, hungry creature.” Octavia, however, just cannot seem to get her colors right when she tries to shoot her purple ink cloud. What happens when the big, hungry shark shows up looking for his dinner?  This creative book introduces basic colors along with the camouflage techniques of various sea animals, a great introduction to marine biology!

My thoughts:
Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud is an interesting look at camouflage and my kids found it funny to see the different colors that Octavia squirted when she was trying to squirt purple so she would be camouflaged. My kids used the double page spreads to seek & find the shark, different fish and sea animals like a clownfish, flounder, parrotfish, porcupine fish, seahorse, sea turtle and shark. They also learned how the creatures protect themselves when the shark comes looking for his dinner – does he find any? You'll have to read the book to find out.

This book would be great for kids 3 ½ and up depending on their attention span. Most of the pages just have a descriptive line or two with occasional pages with quite a bit of text. There is one page in particular with a LOT of text – but the momentum and action is building and that held my kids attention quite well.

Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud was vetted for scientific accuracy by the educators at seaWorld and the South Carolina Aquarium. Children, parents & teachers will love the “For Creative Minds” educational section that includes: Fun facts about animal camouflage and protection techniques; Information about Octopuses and An octopus ink cloud craft using primary colors (online). There are also “related websites” and “teaching activities” on Arbordale Publishing's website to help parents and educators expand the learning possibilities! Http://ArbordalePublishing.com

Details:
Age 3-7, 32 pages, available in English/Spanish & ebook/auto-flip pages w/ audio formats, Quizzes, aligned to standards. Reading Level Aligned: Accelerated reader: 3.4, Lexile: AD 730, Fountas & Pinnell: L. This book has received the following awards:  Silver Mom's Choice Award and is a nominee in the following awards: 2006 So California Ind. Booksellers Assoc. Children's Book; 2006 New Atlantic Ind. Booksellers Assoc. Picture Book of the Year Award & Book Sense Picks.

Authors:
Doreen Rathmell and Donna Rathmell German are sisters who have a passion for children's books & believe that reading to children is the best way to instill imagination and a love of learning. The annual family beach reunion and a Discovery Channel program about octopuses sparked the beginnings of "Octavia". 

Disclaimer: I received this book from Arbordale Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Front of the Class PreK workbook review



This year I will start Tot School with Gianna and I have a 4 1/2 year old who goes to preschool in the AM. I'm planning on saving some of the Book of the Week activities to do with Maddie but I am also planning on having her work in a workbook for review. I tend to use these kinds of books as "task work" for kids who are complaining or arguing to give them something to do and help them refocus their minds in a more positive way.


Front of the Class Workbook
You can purchase your own copy of the Front of the Class workbooks on the Carson Dellosa Website HERE. It is available for Kindergarten through 2nd grade as a paperback ($10.99) or an ebook ($7.99). 320 pages each - a minimum of 4 pages is dedicated to each letter and number as well as the basic concepts your kid needs to advance to the next level.  I am impressed with the depth & thoroughness of the workbook, love the colors & fun details to the images and really like the final section of the workbook which includes Playtime Activities to extend the math section.

Concepts & Skills taught in the Front of the Class PreK workbook include:
  • Basic Concepts & Skills: colors & shapes, opposites like taller/shorter, left to right, same & different, tracing shapes to make things (like a snowman)
  • Writing Readiness: Includes tracing lines such as slants, curved, top to bottom (etc) and tracing words – an example from the opposites section would be in and out – and they actually trace those words so the child is learning the word audibly but also visually.
  • Reading Readiness: There are 4 pages are dedicated to each letter & include how to write the letters in upper and lower case letters, matching patterns, beginning consonant sounds, mazes, cutting/pasting & color by letter activities. Following Directions & Rhyming are also included.
  • Math Readiness: Again there are 4 pages dedicated to each letter starting with writing those numbers, and then recognizing and counting numbers of items. Other math concepts include first, next & last, ordinal numbers, more & fewer and patterns.
Finally the book ends with a beginning sound memory game for the kids to cut out and play & a number of play activities to allow your child to discover & develop early math concepts while having fun. (Learning through play) There is also a small section on critical thinking & a clown puppet they can make.

**I have never seen a section like this included in a workbook – it's long overdue!

Here is a video that explains it in more depth:



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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Carson Dellosa. I received several products from them for the purpose of an honest review stating my impression of the item. I was not required to have a positive review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & I think my readers will find useful or enjoy. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fall Rag Garland



God’s Growing Garden
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Displaying IMG_20150822_231646525.jpg
I've been getting involved with sewing and crafting again after buying a "NEW" sewing machine this summer. I've made a couple of skirts for each of the girls, am stocking up on LOTS of hot/cold therapy packs & Sinus Pillows to sell at the craft shows and farmer's markets and now I'm sewing up some Rag Garlands for the fall. I finished one on Saturday night and thought I'd share the instructions and a picture of the final result.

Fall is my favorite time of year and I chose 5 fabrics in a range of colors. For years I've really enjoyed the fabrics with a metallic thread or a metallic outline to the shapes on the fabric. Usually I only see those in the fall & Christmas fabric lines so I made sure I used that as my "base". The leaf print with the metallic outline has a "wrong side" and a "right side". For this project that doesn't matter so much though.

**I don't know what's wrong with blogger these days but the formatting has been giving me an issue the last couple of days. Hope it's readable =D)

Supplies needed (makes 1 50-52" garland):
  • 1/4 yard of 5 fabrics (tear each strip off the main piece of fabric. Snip about a 1/2 inch apart along one of the selvages & then tear it along the grain. If the fabric is very crooked you may need to toss the first strip as it will be more of a triangular shape instead of one long rectangular shaped strip.)
  • 2" strip of upholstery fabric or a 52" (or whatever length you want) length of cording to tie the strips to.
  • Scissors

Steps: 
1) Snip 5 fabrics every 1-1 1/2" along the long side of your fabric. Tear it starting at the snip. If it's hard to tear snip it a tiny bit again and then tear it. 
2) Starting in the center of the cording or upholstery fabric (it will be folded in 1/2 so 1" wide). Using an overhand knot I tied each fabric strip (about 1" W by 9" L). I tied them on in the same order but you could also do a random order if preferred. 
3) Continue tying the strips on until your cording is full. You can stuff it as full as you want or tie bells/raffia or ribbon randomly throughout the strips for a different look.

Notes:
1) I used a piece of upholstery fabric that unravels similar to burlap but it's softer and more pliable. I only purchased a 2" length of this fabric and then folded it in 1/2 as I tied on the strips. It was more sturdy and strong I thought. It was regularly $24.99 a yard, 40% off and so 2" was only .82 cents! That is why I used upholstery fabric instead of twine or cording. It was cheaper!
2) I purchased enough fabric to make 2 more garlands today and will be tying a knot at the end of each length of cording/upholstery fabric and then filling in the center with the fabric strips.

I thought they turned out really pretty. =D I hope you have fun making up a garland or two for Fall or Christmas. I think this would be really neat for halloween with black/white and maybe some scattered spiders?

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Barbie Dreamhouse Walkthru



VINTAGE 1970s BARBIE TOWNHOUSE WITH ORIGINAL BOXDid any of you grow up playing with Barbie? I inherited a LOT of Barbie stuff when I was about 8 from my cousin (I think I had 1 Barbie before that). I ended up getting the Barbie Townhouse, airplane, boat & camping set (tent, pool, etc) growing up and between my cousin who had the camper, horse, a huge wooden house her mom built her one year and the 30 dolls between the two of us we had a LOT of Barbie. I really wish I still had all my stuff for my kids now!

Please note: this is a sponsored post by Mattel. (I cannot get this to show up at the top or in the title field - if anyone has any ideas why please give me some tips - Thanks!)

Last Wednesday I received a giant box containing the Barbie Dreamhouse during naptime and was treated to 3 very excited girls (20 mo, 4 1/2 and a 5 1/2 playdate friend) when they woke up.

Barbie has REALLY come up in the world folks! Wow!

The Barbie Dreamhouse is a HUGE dollhouse for our friend Barbie. It's very sturdy around toddlers, doesn't tip easily unless they are pulling on it. I think this is probably for kiddos 3 to 3 1/2 and up. Gianna though loves playing with barbies, loves helping Barbie go potty and wash her hands & watch the fish tank so I probably won't be able to keep her from it. =D

Barbie consented to my doing a Video Walkthru - I thought it came out pretty good:



Pro's:
1) Very easy to put together. It likely will only take about 2 hours tops to put together if you don't have any little helpers.
2) No screwdrivers, hammers, etc required. Actually the only time you need a screwdriver is to put the batteries in one of the pieces to make all the noises for the fish tank, fan, grill, sink & toilet.
3) The noises aren't going to drive me nuts! I seriously considered NOT putting the batteries in - but well, everyone needs to listen to Barbie flush the toilet, wash her hands & brush her teeth! Right? I think a parent designed this aspect of the dollhouse - it's really not annoying at all. So far.
4) The dollhouse is sturdy enough for 20 month old Gianna to reach up, pull the fridge open, use the elevator lever once she figured out that you need to press the button to get it to move. I was VERY pleased with this. After a day of playing with it though I ended up removing the elevator & front door and we'll put them back on when she is not around for the older girls. They informed me they don't want to play "invisible stairs".

It will make a GREAT bribe for the 4 year old - she's kind of whiny and argumentative and not so nice to the toddler - I've informed her if she wants to play with it she needs to be kind to her friends, not whine so much & be kind to Gianna (no more hitting her).

Con's:
1) Lot's of little pieces:
2) Very big - At about 4' by 3' it's a little larger than the bookshelf my kid's toys are on in the living room. For now, we are going to keep it in the hallway and I'll get a light so they can see to play. We'll need to move it by my desk so 2 girls can play with it at a time. I'm just not sure where it's going permanently at this time.
3) As I put it together I made notes in my mind on what I needed to make sure the kids were careful about when using it: Don't pull on the chandeliers (I've already taken one away from the 20 month old), Don't lean on the edges & balconies and Don't pull on the Elevator & front door.

If you are planning for Santa to bring the Barbie Dreamhouse to your house for Christmas this year he will be very popular for a LONG time - you might start now telling them they need to be REALLY good. If it helps, I put a Santa shaped soap dispenser in the bathroom - Santa can see at a glance if they have washed their hands and I can tell the girls that I'm going to visit with Santa if they are acting up. Works a charm when they are fighting, backtalking and you can't get them to do their chores! Yeah, I TOTALLY believe in Santa!

Disclaimer: I received this toy from Mattel in exchange for my honest review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy.

Achoo! Why Pollen Counts



Arbordale Publishing could easily be added to our Brain Boosting books series of books for kiddos age 4-8'ish. The books are bright, eye catching, very detailed for the kids and there are oodles of teacher's helps on the ArbordalePublishing.com website in their Creative Minds, Teaching Activities & Reading & Math quizzes. To see other books they have available go to their website, click on "Store" and then on the right sidebar there is a list of available resources as well as a preview for each book. You can purchase the book directly from Arbordale by clicking on the title of the book or on Amazon by clicking on the type of the book.

____________________________________________ 

How many of you have allergies or have kids with allergies? This is a fun book filled with cute animals that live off pollen and a couple of them get the sneezes from it! Read on:

By Shennen Bersani
ISBN: 9781628555509
$11.05 (hardcover)
$ 9.95 (paperback)
$ 9.95 (kindle)
Spanish paperback & Creative Minds activities available on the website HERE

About the book:
Spring has arrived and pollen is in the air. Baby Bear does not like the pollen – it sticks to his fur and makes him itchy and sneezy. He's allergic! Achoo! He just wishes the pollen were gone. When his friends gather to tell him why they need pollen, Baby Bear learns that pollen is good for the forest and provides food for many animals, including him! Pollen might be something we all love to hate, but can we really live without it? This story explains why we need it.

My thoughts:
In Achoo! Your children learn about various animals and insects that eat/drink pollen throughout the four seasons. Your kids will meet Valerie Vole, Sandy Spiderling, Zoe Zebra Butterfly, Honey Bee, Lili Ladybug & Sammy Snow Owl. My kids pour over these books looking at the pictures and making up stories about the scenes that they are looking at & asking questions about the information they are looking at.

The pictures in this story really make the story - they are eye catching, draw kids (and adults into the story) and I found my kids studying the pictures to get clues about the story. The basic idea for the story is a little bear who is allergic to Pollen. I have a 4 1/2 year old who has severe allergies and so she connected right to the story. Connor (7 1/2) loved looking at the various animals and insects in the story and all of us learned something new about the role of pollen in the wild. I knew about bees & hummingbirds of course but never realized that pollen is used year round and that spiders drink it & I didn't realize that bees make a honeybread to feed their young. View the ebook

Details: Age 4-8, 32 pages, available in English/Spanish & ebook/auto-flip pages w/ audio formats. Reading Level Aligned: Accelerated reader: 3.3, Flesch-Kincaid: 3.2, Lexile: 670L, Fountas & Pinnell: N

For Creative Minds: After helping Baby Bear learn more about pollen, children can dive into the For Creative Minds section with activities that include: Ah-Achoo! Understanding Allergies, The Pollination Process & Bees: The Great Pollinators. Awards: Gold Mom's Choice Award, Gold President's Book Award

About the author: Shennen Bersani is an award-winning children's book illustrator & Achoo! Why Pollen Counts is her first book as an author. She has illustrated several books for Arbordale like Shark Baby: Home in the Cave & The Glaciers are Melting!. For more information, visit her website at www.achoowhypollencounts.com


Disclaimer: I received this book from Arbordale Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Interactive Notebooks: Language Arts for Kindergarten




Most of you know my passion is literacy starting with toddlers and going all the way through the middle grade years. I personally am a visual person and I tend to be that way when reading to my kids - pointing out details in the pictures, pointing to the letters & words and discussing what we are seeing & hearing throughout the story. THAT is what impresses me with interactive notebooks for the younger crowd.  Carson Dellosa Publishing has a book that fits that need beautifully:

Interactive Notebooks: Language Arts Resource BookTeachers will find Carson Dellosa's Interactive Notebook forKindergartners (it can be easily adjusted to PreK as well) is very easy to learn how & get ideas for implementing this technique with their kids. 

Benefits to the Teacher:
1) Explains what an interactive notebook is.
2) How to get started, what type of notebook to use. 
3) How to organize it and plan for the year & how to grade them. 
4) Reproducibles are found at the end of the book: Tabs, KWL Chart, Pockets, Shutter Folds, Flap Books & Flaps, Petal Folds, Accordion Folds, Clamshell Fold, Puzzle Pieces and how to make a Flip Book. Children will use their cutting skills, coloring and decorating skills to prepare these pieces to make their own Interactive Notebooks.
5) Provides a Copyright that includes permission to print worksheets for a classroom.

Benefits to the kids:
Kids become active participants in what they are learning through coloring, placement, visualizing the concept or lesson & being creative by utilizing flaps, pockets, folded papers, puzzles, flip books & personalizing their books. Best of all they also LOVE to return to their books & show them to friends & parents and verbalize what they've learned. This helps them retain what they've learned and succeed in future lessons. This is a very important BENEFIT in the learning process.

Kids will learn & review:
Upper & Lowercase letters A-Z, Matching upper/lower case letters, Vowel Sounds, Word Families, Sight Words, Nouns, Verbs, Plural Nouns, Antonyms, Sorting Objects, Writing a Sentence, Using Capital Letters & Punctuation. They also learn the various parts of a book, Setting, Characters, Sequencing, Picture Predictions & the difference between Fiction and Nonfiction. All of this is very important for a solid foundation in reading and writing.


You can purchase your own copy of Interactive Notebooks on the Carson Dellosa Website HERE. It is available for Kindergarten through 5th grade Teachers as a paperback ($9.99) or an ebook ($6.99) however the techniques can be used through High School. Here is a video that explains it in more depth:


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Carson Dellosa. I received several products from them for the purpose of an honest review stating my impression of the item. I was not required to have a positive review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & I think my readers will find useful or enjoy.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bible Based Preschool Curriculum through Play ~ for Toddlers!



This year Gianna is turning 2 on December 5th and I've finally made a decision on our pre-pre K activities. =D I've found a wonderful bible based curriculum that starts at age 2. She has been showing me that she is ready to start Tot School and begin learning in a more "formal" way. What do I mean? Let me explain.


Gianna (Gigi) has been growing in so many ways. I've seen a huge change in her speech in the last couple of weeks - she not only is repeating everything we say but we can ask her to do simple things, bring us things located at ____, or indicate to us that she wants water, "yo-yurt", mama or dada. She calls kitty "Meow" and is more and more using words instead of sign to communicate with us. Her latest big word is "oie oie oie oooooo's". (Anyone know what she is saying?)

Otherways we've noticed her growth:
1) She LOVES the slide! to the point she scares me & I have to get a big kid over 7 to help her sit on their lap and ride down.
2) She is beginning to love to SWING - and often has a great big smile!
3) She loves to look at her ABC book and using her finger trace the cutout letter in the correct way.
4) She uses her pointer finger to count the birds (etc).
5) She is very outgoing - loves bounce houses, Meow's, doggies (or woof woof),
6) She walks around the house and points at things for us to tell her the word & then she repeats it.
Little Tikes Cozy Coupe7) When I tell her to do something she will turn to that thing (the book, the door, the bedroom to change her, the POTTY ).
8) When I go to put ponytails in the 4 year olds hair she will go and pick out the colors she wants, wait till M is done and then place herself in the right position and she won't move till I put something in her hair! (ponytails, headband, ribbon, whatever)
9) She loves riding her trike (she still scoots on it) or that little tikes car.
10) She loves babies!
11) Favorite videos: anything Elmo, Pottytraining, Praise Baby, Treeschoolers.
12) She's not scared of anything - except a stranger & the chiropractor! (if your a chiropractor step out of the room or you'll be deaf sooner than later!)
Gosh, I could continue the list.

Mostly what has made me decide to start Tot School at 21 months is that she WANTS to read, color, paint, count, try to write, do Fine Motor and Large Motor activities. She has a long enough attention span to listen to a couple pages of a Magic Treehouse book and watch a 1/2 hour toddler video.

I have found a WONDERFUL online preschool curriculum called ABC Jesus Loves Me. All 4 years of the program are FREE unless you want to purchase the curriculum. There are a few added benefits to actually buying the curriculum - but if you can't afford it, want to try it out for a year or want to wait till your child is 3-4 to purchase a curriculum this is the way to go.

ABC Jesus Loves Me Banner

What is provided: I haven't looked at anything but the 2 year old curriculum at this point so that is what I will share with you.
- Bible Story & Verse of the Week/Month, Verses are put to music and flashcards are available to print FREE
- Book of the Week & Activities
- Number, Letter, Colors & Shapes (an introduction to learning about them)
- Songs & Fingerplays
- Self-Care & Manners (I love this!)

I personally will be doing mostly sensory type, crafts, books and activities to go with them. I love the idea of the verses put to music as Gianna is VERY musical. We will continue to sing our ABC's and 123's. I'm also planning on scattering this throughout the week. Likely we'll be doing the crafts & book activities in the afternoon so M can join us when she gets home from preschool. Lastly, I really like that she has a chart to keep track of how Gianna is progressing.

Stay tuned as I share some of our activities and how much we are enjoying this.

I am not an affiliate & I haven't been approached to do a review for the program. I'm sharing this because I'm impressed with the curriculum and I really like the online assistance I can get from the FB pages and the author herself.



A pair of bear books



Arbordale Publishing could easily be added to our Brain Boosting Books series of books for kiddos age 4-8'ish. The books are bright, eye catching, very detailed for the kids & there are oodles of teacher's helps on the ArbordalePublishing.com website in their Creative Minds, Teaching Activities and Reading & Math Quizzes. To see other books they have available go to their website, click on "Store" and then on the right sidebar there is a list of available resources as well as a preview for each book. You can purchase the book directly from Arbordale by clicking on the title of the book or on Amazon by clicking on the type of book. The Spanish books are available on Arbordales website.

On to 2 wonderful Bear Books - Gianna's favorites!


by Terry Pierce
ISBN: 978-1934359280
$15.26 (hardback)
$8.95 (paperback)
$9.95 (Spanish paperback on ArbordalePublishing.com)
$8.95 (Kindle)

About the book:
Mmm-mm! Forest animals squeak, tweet, slurp, yip and chomp over the sweet, plump fruit of a wild blackberry bush. But what happens when a bear arrives to take part in the feast? Young children will enjoy following the story by making the animal sounds, and the chaos that strikes upon the bear's arrival will surely bring on the laughter. The cumulative, rhyming text makes for a great read-aloud.

My thoughts:
This fun book will catch your littlest preschooler/toddler's attention when you pull it out. It's illustrated in a colored pencil style that makes the animals attractive to littles and makes them seem alive. Each page is a big double page spread with text on one side. The text on most of the pages is 2 lines and then the sounds the animals make as they eat starts in.... Slurp! Mmm-mm; Tweet! Mmm-mm; Squeak! Mmm-mm – my two younger kiddos joined in with the sounds as I read and Gianna had to examine the animals and when she saw a bear she had to keep hitting the bear until I made the appropriate sounds of awe. One thing I did like as I read was that the animals weren't named. I don't usually mind but when you are trying to teach a toddler animal names and sounds naming them it sometimes confuses them I think.

Animals featured in this book are the black bear, bluebird, deer, fox, mouse, squirrel, then continue on to explore animal relationships further with the following topics: Blackberry Fun Facts, How we eat blackberries (with smoothie recipe), Plants are at the bottom of the food chain, Plants and animals, How do animals help plants?, Are plants always good?. You can go online to arbordalepublishing.com and download another 15-30 pages of activities.

Details:
Age 4-8, 32 pages, available in English/Spanish & ebook/auto-flip pages w/ audio formats
Reading Level Aligned: Accelerated reader: 1.3, Flesch-Kincaid: 3.2, Lexile: 680 NC, Fountas & Pinnell: K

About the author: Terry Pierce is the author of 16 children's books, including picture books, easy readers, joke books & non-fiction. She was a Montessori pre-primary teacher for 22 years, before deciding to follow her dream of writing for children (what she calls, “the best mid life crises ever!”). Learn more at www.terrypiercebooks.com.


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a Compare and Contrast Book (a photo journal)
by Katharine Hall
ISBN: 9781628552096
$10.68 (hardcover)
$ 8.87 (paperback)
$ 8.87 (Kindle)

About the book:
What do polar bears and penguins have in common and how are they different? While they both live in polar climates, they live at opposite ends of the Earth. One is covered in fur (a mammal) and the other is covered in feathers (a bird). Compare and contrast these polar animals through stunning photographs.

My thoughts:
Polar Bears & Penguins has bright beautiful photographs throughout the entire book. The animals are pictured in detailed, close up views. Several pages also include a picture of the globe that points out where the penguins and the polar bears live as well as the various types of bears and penguins in the world. Your kids will see a black bear, giant panda bear, grizzly bear, sloth bear, sun bear and polar bear and they will also see the many different types of penguin such as the African, Emperor, Adelie, Rockhopper, Yellow-Eyed penguins and a Little penguin. A couple of these I personally had not heard of and often I'll comment “I didn't know that”!

Some of the words your kids will hear in this book are: colonies, habitat, Antarctic, Arctic, continents, Southern Hemisphere & Northern Hemisphere. They will also learn about the differences – bears have fur and birds have feathers, small groups vs groups of hundreds or thousands, winter and summer, darkness and sunshine.

Polar Bears and Penguins has the following activities for your families:
Found at the end of each book is a section called For Creative Minds where your kids can learn more about penguins and polar bears.  Polar animals can be very different as we learn in Polar Bears & Penguins. After comparing and contrasting these cold weather creatures, children are able to engage in learning activities that include: Seasons, Polar Bear True or False and Penguin Matching. This particular book's section is more information based instead of activity based & I feel the activities are for older kids. As always, you can go online to arbordalepublishing.com and download another 15-30 pages of activities.


Details:
Age 4-8, 32 pages, available in English/Spanish & ebook/auto-flip pages w/ audio formats
Reading Level Aligned: Accelerated reader: 3.3, Flesch-Kincaid: 3.2, Lexile: 670L, Fountas & Pinnell: N


Awards: Outstanding Science Trade Book; International Literacy Association ILA Literacy Excellence Children's and Young Adults Book Award; Science Books and Films Best Books of 2014 in Zoological Sciences

Disclaimer: I received this book from Arbordale Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy.