February 27, 2012

Book Review: If You Give A Dog A Donut
















I love this book and so do my kids - especially my 3 year old son.  If You Give A Dog A Donut, by Laura Numeroff, is part of the "If You Give..." series, which includes titles like If You Give A Cat A Cupcake and If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.  This book was our first introduction to the author's collection and definitely not our last. 

If You Give A Dog A Donut is a wonderfully written cause and effect story of a boy and his dog which begins with the simple act of feeding him a donut.  "If you give a dog a donut, he'll ask for some apple juice to go with it.  When you give him the juice, he'll drink it all up". 














And of course this dog wants more, but since it's all gone, he'll have to pick more apples - which makes him think of baseball...you get the idea!  This wild and crazy dog takes readers on a backyard adventure which includes pirates, a water fight, and flying kites.  It's a really fun read, and we have fun guessing what the dog will do next.  I often ask him "Do you think our dog would do that?", which generates even more dialogue.

This book is not only cute, but funny!  I know this will remain on our bedtime story list for quite some time.

February 24, 2012

DIY Project: Hanging Book Shelf

I have seen this done before, but this fabric hanging bookshelf by lori danelle is perfect in every way! With an eclectic mix of color, fabric, and prints this hanging bookshelf would be the focal point of any child's room.  If you are up for a DIY project, visit lori danelle's website to view step-by-step instructions on how you can make your own!






















February 22, 2012

Celebrate Read Across America Day on March 2nd!
















Friday, March 2nd is Read Across America Day, and also the celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday.  Across the country, many schools, libraries and community centers will celebrate this day with a variety of reading activities.  Here are a few ideas for you and your family to celebrate his birthday and your favorite Dr. Seuss books!

Celebrate early on Saturday, February 25th at your local Target store for Dr. Seuss storytime to hear a reading of The Lorax.  Storytime is from 9-11am and includes free goody bags, fun activities and more.














Of course any birthday celebration should have sweets.  I found this Thing 1, Thing 2 cupcake idea on foodgawker.  I actually think this is a recipe that would be easy to replicate:  Red velvet cupcakes, cream cheese frosting, and blue cotton candy.  Wouldn't it be fun to read your favorite Dr. Seuss stories and then enjoy these fun, tasty cupcakes?
















If cake pops are your thing (they are not mine yet...only because I don't have the patience!)...check out these ADORABLE super-creative Cat in the Hat cakepops courtesy of Bakerella.  I'm not attempting...but one can dream :). 













If you really want to go all out like this creative mom at And Everything Sweet, you could make a variety of Dr. Seuss-themed cake pops including Thing 1 & Thing 2 and Green Eggs and Ham.






























To "top" things off get crafty and help your kids make their own Cat in the Hat hat to wear while reading their favorite Dr. Seuss classics!



February 20, 2012

Book Review: Germs Are Not for Sharing














I am not a germ freak - but I do go through phases...especially after my kids are sick or after they come back from the germ infested play area at the mall!  I have taught my kids to wash their hands, but this book does a great job of bringing the message home.  Part of the Best Behavior Series by Elizabeth Verdick, Germs Are Not for Sharing discusses what germs are, how they can make people sick, and why we need to wash them down the drain. 








What I like most about this book is it speaks to children in simple terms using illustrations they can relate to.  Germs Are Not for Sharing is perfect for teaching preschool to early elementary aged children the basics of handwashing.  After reading this book, my son Johnny has started to show more enthusiasm for washing his hands, and often tells me why he is doing it - "so other kids don't get sick".  I think I am going to have to check out more books from the Best Behavior Series...:)

February 19, 2012

Book Storage: Owl Bookends


How cute are these Owl Zoo Bookends by Skip Hop?  Soft and weighted, these bookends would be the perfect accent for your child's bookshelf.  Part of the popular "ZOO Collection", these irresistable friends are sold as a set of two.  Also available as monkeys or dogs.

February 18, 2012

Room Inspiration: Floor to Ceiling Kid's Book Wall

Kid's Book Wall from House of Turquoise

After writing about this closet turned reading nook, I decided to turn my kid's walk-in closets into small book nooks/play areas.  I have been scouring the web for ideas and found this image of a hip, funky nursery and book wall.  Not sure if I can replicate to this level, but it inspires me to be more creative.  I love it so much I had to share.

February 15, 2012

Our Childrens Bedtime Story Routine

I love our bedtime routine:  bath, brush teeth, and books...and a story...oh and a song!  Probably similar to many households with young children.  They will do anything to delay going to bed.  And rightfully so -there's just something I love about cuddling with my clean, strawberry shampoo-smelling kiddos while we read their favorite books.  No television, no iphones, no distractions - just time well spent together. 

There was a period of time when I would rush through storytime.  It think it was when my daughter was around 6 months old and my son had just turned 2.  They kept me busy, and like most moms, by 8pm I was wiped.  But then I started to realize how fast kids grow up and that someday I would think back to these days and how great they were.  I mean I already miss rocking my kids when they were babies!

So we first read books to my two-year old daughter, Layla.  Sometimes we all sit together in our big cozy white rocking chair - and sometimes my son Johnny stands to the side because he's a "big boy".  Right now she picks I Love You Through and Through and the Dr. Suess classic, One fish two fish red fish blue fish.  What I like about these books is they are great for many ages.  Both of my kids have loved them as infants, babies, and now toddlers.  I Love You Through and Through is a great rhyming read that isn't a story, but rather a visual explanation of how they will be loved from top to bottom, ending with "I love you through and through, yesterday, today, and tomorrow too."  One fish two fish red fish blue fish is perfect right now because I'm really working with her on her colors (for awhile everything was "blue")!  This whimsicle book is full of images and sections that make no sense - which makes it perfect for the toddler who likes to skip around and turn their own pages.  I've read this book so much to my kids and I honestly never get tired of it.  I think that's the true test - when both kids and parents can read the same book night after night!



After our books we turn out the light and she lets me rock her (which unlike my son she rarely did as a baby).  We sing "You Are My Sunshine" and....sometimes the song from Super-Why because she is obsessed with that doll even though she rarely watches the show!  Two kisses for Layla girl and then I lay her down in her crib with her pink blanket and her "night night".  (Yes - I need to get rid of it soon....)

Off to bed, but in my next post I will cover my 3 year old Johnny's bedtime story routine.

February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Storytime at Pottery Barn Kids!

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and I know many of you have fun activities planned for your little ones.  Whether it's baking cookies, making Valentine's Day cards, or attending parties, it's all part of your family tradition.  Why not include a reading-related activity for this special holiday?  If you live near a Pottery Barn Kids retail store, they are having Valentine's Day Storytime at 11:00am - full of fun books and activities.  Locate your local Pottery Barn Kids for more details!

February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day Books: Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine

















Looking for a new Valentine's Day read for your kids? If you liked the Amelia Bedelia series as a child you will love the newer versions for this generation, including Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine. As she awaits the arrival of Valentine's Day, Amelia Bedelia can hardly contain her excitement for exchanging Valentine's Day cards, a party at school, and a big long family hug. Getting to know the whimsicle child version of Amelia is refreshing, and will not disappoint! 

February 08, 2012

Vintage Childrens Decor + Books = LOVE!

Childrens Reading Corner from Rummage
This mom knows how to decorate.  I just look at this image and smile (and secretly wish this was in my house!).  What a great use of space - one that in most homes would be an empty, tan hallway with a few family photos.  Now there's nothing wrong with that of course...but I love the vintage decor paired with books and vibrant colors.  This cool, eclectic look makes for a great place for your little one to read.  Who wouldn't want this adorable reading corner in their home?

February 05, 2012

When & How to Read to Your Toddler

We always hear how important it is to read to our children.  I recently came across a great article by Kids Health about Toddler Reading Time.  As a mother of two toddlers, the section below caught my eye.  For the full article visit KidsHealth.org.

When and How to Read to Toddlers:

Experts recommend reading to toddlers as often as possible, striving for at least one scheduled reading time each day. Choosing regular times to read (especially before naps and bedtime) helps kids learn to sit with a book and relax. But you can read anytime your child seems in the mood.
If your toddler will let you, hold him or her in your lap when you read. It's a great spot for:
  • helping kids feel safe, happy, and relaxed
  • giving undivided attention
  • showing new things
  • inviting participation
You'll find that your toddler wants to be independent and successful. Encourage this by offering three or four books to choose from, praising the selection, letting your toddler help you turn pages, and asking for help as you find things on a page. Your child will love to finish sentences in books with repetitive phrasing or rhymes.

Here are some additional reading tips:
  • Read whatever books your toddler asks for, even if it's the same book every night for weeks and weeks (and weeks and weeks).
  • Read slowly enough for your toddler to understand.
  • Read expressively, using different voices for different characters and raising or lowering your voice as appropriate.
  • Use puppets, finger plays (like the "Itsy Bitsy Spider"), or props while you read.
  • Encourage your toddler to clap or sing when you read rhythmic, sing-song books.
  • Talk about the illustrations. Point to items and name them. Then ask your child to name them with you and offer enthusiastic praise.
  • Ask open-ended questions — "Why do you think the lion is going into the woods? What do you think will happen next?" This encourages your child to think about the story and to ask questions.
  • Substitute your child's name for the name of a character in the book.
  • Have fun! Show your child that reading is enjoyable.
Source:  Kids Health, http://kidshealth.org

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